Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Comelec staff defies physical limits to help future voters

..WHILE offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Cebu City are limiting the number of registrants to 500 a day as the voters’ registration period ends tomorrow, a differently abled encoder at Comelec Minglanilla remains unfazed by the influx of last-minute applicants. Christine Zamora, 32, helps Minglanilla residents complete their application for voters’ registration. She encodes personal information and biometrics of those who want to become registered voters of Minglanilla in a computer, which is connected to the Comelec database. During the voters’ registration period, she assists 50 to 100 registrants a day. This is quite an achievement for an able-bodied person, but for Zamora, who was born with no hands, this is a feat. Zamora thinks nothing of it. She told Sun.Star Cebu in an interview yesterday that with only two days left to register, she expects her workload to double. Normal “Pero normal ra man nako (that’s normal for),” she said, adding that she has been working at the Comelec office for two years. Zamora, a mother of two from Barangay Tubod in Minglanilla, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Cebu. She wanted to be a journalist but her sister persuaded her to work in a travel agency in Hong Kong where she handled travel bookings and issued tickets to customers. She worked in Hong Kong for five years before deciding to return to the Philippines. Asset Zamora said she does not have problems with her disability as she has family, friends and co-workers who support her. Minglanilla Election Officer Nilo Maningo considers Zamora as an asset. “She has excellent output despite the workload,” Maningo told Sun.Star Cebu. Zamora said persons with disabilities should not be discouraged by their disability and must show they are just as efficient as other people. Comelec Cebu City north district election officer Marchel Sarno said there is a need to control the number of registrants to maintain order. Full At 10 a.m. yesterday, Comelec Cebu City refused to take in more registrants because its offices were congested. Comelec Cebu City decided to issue priority numbers and the Cebu City Government had to put up tents so registrants can sit in the shade while waiting for their turn. The road outside the Comelec office was closed to traffic and the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management placed railings to secure the perimeter of the election offices. Among those trying to beat the deadline are actor Eddie Gutierrez and son John Rex Gutierrez. John Rex’s girlfriend also registered in the north district election office yesterday. Actress Ruffa Gutierrez is expected to register today. Bid The Gutierrezes want to become registered voters of Cebu City north district to support Annabelle Rama’s congressional bid. Annabelle and Eddie have a house in Barangay Busay but John Rex and his girlfriend declared the Rama-Gutierrez house in Barangay Kamputhaw as residence. Under Comelec Resolution 9542, names of registrants standing in line up to 30 meters will be listed down by 3 p.m. on the last day of registration. They will be the last ones allowed to register. But if they are not present when their names are called, they can no longer register as voter for the 2013 elections. Comelec warned that applications without biometrics will be considered “not filed” and will not be submitted before the Election Registration Board for hearing. ..