These Filipinos Spent 8 to 16 Hours on Voters’ Registration – But That’s Okay

Have you registered to vote yet? With the May 2022 elections coming up, we should all do our part to register because each vote counts. These Filipinos shared how long they spent on voters’ registration and talk about why it’s still important to vote despite the long process in some cities.

Michael Salomon shares that he lined up at Robinson’s Magnolia at 4:30 am on a Monday but was asked to leave at 6 am because they couldn’t accommodate more than 400 people. The next day, he lined up even earlier – at 2:50 am – and successfully got a slot. His registration process ended at 6:40 pm – a total of 16 whole hours!

Michael Salomon Voters Registration 5

Photo from Michael Salomon

Michael Salomon Voters Registration 3

Photo from Michael Salomon

Michael Salomon Voters Registration 4

Photo from Michael Salomon

“I really don’t know why it took so long,” he admits. “I lowered my expectation, but it still took longer than usual. Some said it might be due to the unexpected surge of online appointments or the PWDs, senior citizens, and frontliners.” Still, he urges everyone to register to vote. “It is your civic duty to choose leaders to take care of our community and country,” he reminds us. “Practice caring for your country. Registering and voting will make you a better person for yourself and for others. Be involved.”

Jan Ray lined up at Robinson’s Forum, Mandaluyong from 1 am to 8:45 am, and spent a total of 8 hours and 45 minutes there. “It took that long because I decided to line up early to ensure that I would actually get a slot since there are only 600 slots per day,” he explains. The process itself only took around 20 minutes, though. He also shares that he exchanged good conversations with a university professor and a stroke and cancer survivor while waiting.

“If we want development in our nation, we should choose leaders that have the same goals as ours. We can do so by registering to vote. These small steps of queuing in line speak a lot for our future as they say let our voices be heard,” Jan Ray says.

Jan Ray Voters Registration

Photo from Jan Ray

Matt Angeles, who registered at Circuit Makati, took around 12 hours on voters’ registration. “I got there at around 11:20 pm, but only got to start doing the first step at 9:30 am,” he shares. According to Matt, the waiting time was the longest part while the registration process itself only took around 1.5 hours.

Matt thinks the registration took that long because of the lack of coordination between the security department, the barangay officials, and COMELEC. Apparently, nobody was there to assist them or give them definitive details about what was going to happen, so everybody was trying to figure things out on the spot. This caused confusion and trouble for everyone, especially the applicants. “There weren’t any guidelines in place. There were no numbers to indicate whether or not we made it before the cutoff,” he shares.

Matt Angeles Voters Registration

Photo from Matt Angeles

Matt does point out that it isn’t like this in every city, though, so you shouldn’t be disheartened. And even if it is in yours, you should still push through. “I think fellow Filipinos should know that weathering the storm and going through the hurdles to get registered is important because the fate of our nation goes beyond that one terrible day,” he says. “We can be hungry and lose sleep for a day; but if that means we can help put a leader in power that will help the hungry and provide opportunities to lift people out of poverty, then that makes it all worthwhile. If from that one bad day we can create a few good years for the Filipino people, then we’ve done our job. We should register to vote not because it’s convenient. We should register because our vote counts towards creating a future that might allow government officials to make it convenient.”

Jason Magbanua also registered at Circuit Makati, starting at 6:45 am and finishing at 2:30 pm. “Initially, of course, first response ng tao is to blame the system: how the lines are handled, how the forms are given out, how they’re distributed, the actual people who are taking care of the registration,” he says. “That’s the initial response: inis, asar, things could be better. But at the end of the day, I just realized it’s also the fault of the procrastinators, including myself. It’s a fault of not being early enough. I don’t know how many percent of the population just decided to do the registration, to vote, just in the last five days just because alam nila deadline na. I think that’s one of the reasons. There are just too many people. Too many people didn’t heed the call to register early and that’s what happened.”

Michael Salomon Voters Registration 6

Photo from Michael Salomon

Jason is clear to point out that he isn’t blaming anyone in particular, but is merely pointing out that the system isn’t the only thing to blame, though there seemed to be a miscommunication between the people of Circuit and the people of COMELEC. Echoing Matt’s experience, he points out that there was no assistance, information, or signages on where to line up or whether they could still register. In fact, Jason was already in line for almost an hour when they were told that the slots were full. However, when they got to the basement, one of the guards told them that COMELEC was planning to open up more slots, so they went to the end of the line on the 5th floor and were eventually able to register. That aside, Jason says the process – biometrics, verifying of personal information, etc. – was all smooth. “Props to the COMELEC for that,” he says.

Jason would also like to remind everyone that the registration has been extended to October 30, 2021. “That’s a good thing so please, please do your part. Do your civic duty to register to vote so that you can vote in the coming elections in May 2022,” he says, even after his tiring experience. He also points out a post of his friend on Facebook that mentioned that we line up regularly for hours for concerts and have the patience for that. “It makes better sense that we have the patience to line up for voter registration so our voices can be heard,” he says. “And I feel that it doesn’t make sense if you think that it’s just one vote. No. It’s a vote. It’s the vote and the more the people realize this, the more we can help affect change in the country.”

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