THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) has approved the opening of registration sites in areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the second strictest lockdown level, starting Sept. 6.   

Registration will be open in Comelec offices and partner malls in areas under MECQ from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

“Comelec en banc just now approves conduct of registration, from 8 a.m. (to) 5 p.m., in areas under MECQ, starting Sept. 6, 2021. In-mall voter registration will be allowed,” Comelec spokesperson James B. Jimenez said in a Viber message to reporters on Wednesday.   

The Comelec has partnered with SM, Ayala, and Robinson’s malls, for 81, 22, and 47 satellite voters’ registration booths nationwide, respectively.  

The deadline for voters’ registration is still on Sept. 30. Service hours have been extended in areas under less stringent lockdown levels to 7 p.m. Sites will also be open on Saturdays and holidays.  

Meanwhile, the Comelec special bids and awards committee said no supplier participated for the contract on vote-counting machine operating buttons for the 2022 national and local elections.    

In the committee’s hearing on Wednesday, the secretariat said no company bought bid documents “because of the low approved budget.”   

There were interested companies that requested for an increase in the approved budget, but it was denied by Comelec.   

The approved budget is P173.50 per unit, totaling P7.63 million.  

The committee declared a “failure of bidding” and will conduct a mandatory review as required under Comelec rules.  

The committee is also set to conduct a pre-bidding conference on the i-buttons, which will be for the digital signatures on the ballots for the 2022 elections, on Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. through video conferencing. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago