By Ferdinand Patinio, January 11, 2024; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to implement nationwide its Register Anywhere Program (RAP) when the voter registration period resumes on Feb. 12.

In a statement Thursday, the poll body said the RAP would accept applications in all capital cities and towns and highly urbanized cities (HUCs).

“RAP registration sites will be set up in malls, universities, or government offices/agencies in all capital cities and towns and HUCs nationwide. RAP has now been institutionalized in the Commission as a program owing to its favorable turnout and positive reception by the general public and other stakeholders,” the Comelec added.

In 2022, the poll body held a pilot testing of the RAP in selected areas, including malls and government agencies.

The initial testing was held in SM Fairview, Robinsons Place Manila, SM Sucat, Robinsons Galleria, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons Tacloban, SM City Legazpi and Robinsons Naga.

Aside from these venues, the Comelec said the program will also be held in select church organizations, private establishments, government agencies and educational institutions.

The RAP’s nationwide implementation aims to provide additional avenues and opportunities for voter registration in places of higher concentration of people traffic and congregation of persons of voting age.

“This move will maximize efforts to register workers, employees, and students with limited time and opportunity to register, for them to become voters for the 2025 National and Local Elections,” it said.

Under the RAP, a registrant will be allowed to file his/her application wherever there is a designated RAP registration site regardless of his/her place of residence.

Other applications that will be accepted in RAP sites include new registration, transfer of registration from another city/municipality/district, transfer of registration from overseas to local, correction of entries or change of status, and reactivation.

The RAP will be available until Aug. 31.

Meanwhile, Comelec chairperson George Garcia said they would release amended guidelines on voter’s registration.

He reminded applicants that they will no longer accept company ID as a valid identification document.

“Dapat po government-issued ID lamang ang pwedeng magparehistro (Applicants should only submit government-issued IDs),” the poll body chief added.

Local Comelec offices are ready to accept application for registration and other election-related concerns from Feb. 12 to Sept. 30, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays.

These include holidays, unless the poll body announced that there are no registration activities on those days. (PNA)