Nakapag-register ka ba?

October 30, 2012

Sa mga nagtatanong kung naka-register ako, short answer: No.

As much as it pains me to have undergone that waiting process and still not make the 160 people/day cut, I'd have to say that I took the whole thing with grace.

I went at the Makati Fire Station right after my shift at 2AM, without having slept from Sunday. I saw the long line but I was confident that I will make it. To show you how confident I was, here's the photo of the line in front of me. Kitang-kita naman na di aabot ng 160 yan diba? (may mga tao pa sa stairs, but still...)

I talked to my friend, Len, on the phone for almost 2 hours. I was sitting on cold parking lot concrete that my butt already started to hurt. So after I finished my potato and garden salad (lol ang dami kong baon okay?), I decided to use my bag as my pillow and catch some z's.

Yes, I slept on the Makati Fire Station parking lot, cold and hard concrete, nothing more! How many people can actually say that?

Cowboy kung cowboy. Also, I was queuing alone so naki-friends ako sa mga katabi ko. By 4AM, I felt the need to sleep and so I did. Actually, everyone in the line did. Until come 5AM, some jerk blared his car's horn until we all woke up. (Nakalimutan naming parking lot nga pala yun haha)

It was a nice nap. May stargazing effect pa nung nagising na ako.

In fairness, maganda yung boses nung kumakanta so okay lang sakin. After a while, peddlers selling food arrived. Pinaka-mabenta si Manong at ang kanyang taho.

I waited for two more hours until the office opened. I killed time by streaming Magic's Good Times on my phone until it got drained.

But around 7AM is where it gets ugly. People who looked freshly bathed and had a full 8-hr sleep started arriving, taking spots in the far front of my area. If someone were to cut in front of me, I would have shoved their asses off. But it was far from me and my energy level requires me to not talk and not move that much. People behind me were already shouting to those in front. They seemed to hear because they looked back, but they stayed put.

Then the EO started his spiel on speakerphone that lasted until 8:10AM, when the registration was supposed to be starting already. These are his points:

  • Registration has been ongoing for more than a year. Why only register now?
  • The COMELEC commercial have been playing in ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5 for months, did you not see it?
  • There were months were they only had 5 registrants per day.
  • They came to barangays but only 20 people registered
  • They won't eat lunch at 12, but they will end at 4PM
  • They don't get paid for overtime so they can't extend.
  • There's only room for 160 people because they can only process 30 people per hour. 20 regular people/hr + 10 pregnant/disabled/elderly people/hr; Why? Because there are only 3 computers and 3 EOs and they can only do that much.
  • *People in front of the building won't get any chance
At 8:20AM, a horde of people from nowhere came in front. Suddenly, an Election Officer (EO) walked by and asked the people to not mess up the line. And as if they are entitled to do so, they merged with the line that we're in. I was dying in disbelief! There are people who could be THAT selfish?

From ugly, it went down to chaotic levels! The shouts from behind became wails and what was turning to be an angry mob. Thankfully, they were only using words, nothing physical. Pano ba naman di magagalit yung nasa likod, tumatawa pa yung mga naningit. The nerve!

When it struck 9AM, it became clear that I will no longer be able to go in. Wala ng pag-asa. Lahat ng mga kasabay ko sa pila, magsstay na daw dun until Wednesday morning. I could've stayed there with them but I have a job and a medical condition that needs to be taken care of. I left.

I would have to agree that last minute registrants have a fault in this. That there would not have been a hassle if we registered earlier. But please don't reason the TV commercials that have been playing. Not all of us have television. In fact, I only knew of the registration deadline when Hagedorn, Puerto Princesa's good mayor, decided to submit his candidacy at the last minute and it reached the social media.

~*Hagedorn for Senator!*~

The thing is, people now are more dependent on the internet than TV. An awareness campaign through the internet would really help in the information dissemination. The EOs can complain and rant all they want, but it has to be a two-way street. Also, if this has been trending for quite some time, not just this election registration, why are they not doing something about it?

Kung ang mga resorts, may peak at non-peak season, pwede rin nilang i-apply dito. Pag non-peak season, instead the usual 3 people manning the registration office, gawing isa. Tapos damihan kapag peak season.

One word: Utilization.

Pwede ring may kasamang perk na mabibigay agad yung voter's id kapag non-peak season ka nag-register. Kasi may downtime naman pala ang district offices eh, bakit may mga voters na 2 years na, wala pa ring ID.
OR BETTER YET, gayahin yung appointment system ng DFA at NBI. It has been applauded by many people how the system changed for the better. Hindi naman dahil every 2 years lang nagbubukas ang registration, hindi na dapat pagandahin ang sistema. Make use of the technology. Kasi kung pwedeng padaliin ang buhay ng mga tao, registrants and EOs alike, WHY NOT?

For now my voter status is in the grace of COMELEC Chairman Brillantes, if he would decide to reopen another round of registration. I hope he will. I would very much want to vote for my mayor.

*All the people lined behind the fire station is estimated to be 300-400. If the registration line circled up into the back of Makati Post Office, we could safely assume there was more or less a thousand people who came today. That's 800+ people who couldn't register.

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