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Technology alone is not the answer…but at least, I am already registered!

November 1, 2009 5 comments
30102009

a not-so-good photo of my hand with that meaningful thumbmark!

Second to the last day of registration for 2010 elections, Oct30 (Friday), I decided to go back to the nearest COMELEC office to my house (near SM Manila) and have myself registered no matter what. I am blogging about this so that I have something to look back to after years.

If you are thinking that I am about to whine about my experience that day, well you are right! hehe! I am aware beforehand that going through that line is definitely not easy. I admit that I am envious of my friends (Jorron, Ace, Ren) who are already registered. I also know that, as what others call it, this is the price of cramming and the bloody line/process should not be blamed solely on the COMELEC.

Enough of disclaimers. I was there at the registration for 8 freaking hours (you may change the underlined letters), hours when I should have been sleeping, playing restaurant city, starting reading Vampire Academy ebooks (given by Kath, of course), or watching TV with my brother. I was there as early as 6:30am until 2:30pm. People ahead of me came at 4:30am.

There were lines outside the COMELEC building and another line when you get inside the building. I stood up for 6 hours, sitting from time to time along sidewalks. I was wearing rubber shoes and my heels still ached a lot because of standing too long. I managed to control my sweat glands (haha!) so I did not sweat at all while I was outside the building. But when I went inside the building, the adjective hot was an understatement. Fortunately, nobody fainted.  The space of the building was maximized, people were everywhere around you. At some point, it’s hard to breathe. One false alarm would cause panic and stampede. While waiting for my turn, I was planning what to do once panic occurs.

It took me 8 freaking hours (again, you may change the underlined letters)to finish the ff simple procedures:

  1. (Assuming that you are qualified and you have complete requirements with you) Get three registration forms from the COMELEC people and accomplish those. If you have downloaded forms, have them validated.
  2. Submit the accomplished forms and requirements, like a photocopy of your ID with your current address, to the COMELEC official and wait for your name to be called again.
  3. After receiving back your registration forms and requirements (rechecked by the officials),have  your biometrics taken…then you’re finished!!

I waited for 5 ½ hours to get to STEP 1, 30mins to finish STEP 2, and almost 2 ½ hours to reach STEP 3. Not to mention, taking my holy biometrics only lasted for not more than 3 minutes.

So WHY did it take me loooooong hours to finish these simple procedure?

  1. Technology alone is not the answer especially when you are lacking in man power. Yes, taking biometrics is time efficient but what the use of that if you only have two apparatuses to serve thousands of people? Moreover, what can 10 officials do to speed up procedures for thousands of registrants?
  2. There was prioritization!! In other words, people cut in and COMELEC officials allowed that! These people are not ordinary persons but maybe actors/actresses, relatives of government officials, or ordinary but RICH individuals who had easily squeezed their butts in and finished STEPS 1-3 in just 15mins just like that without falling in line! They were escorted by COMELEC officials so people in line could seldom, or not all, complain.
  3. Abusive people. There were, and there will always be insistent individuals would occasionally cut in the line before people who look either too kind or gullible.

HOW did I survive?

  1. I had no choice but to trust all the people ahead of me that they would not let people cut in because everyone knew the sacrifices of each person in line. Even men did not allow attractive women to cut in. haha!
  2. There were interesting and bubbly people around whom you could communicate with. I met this cute little girl, called by her grandma as Teresa. She was so energetic even if she was perspiring hehe! I remember giving her one of my biscuits because she was hungry and so bored. I hope to see her again.
  3. I brought water, 2 sachets of biscuits, 2 cupcakes, and lunch (longganisa with rice) with me! Of course, tissues, alcohol, fan, and a book (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) to read when there’s no one to talk to.
  4. Patience and a touch of aggressiveness (in a good way, okay). I had to wait and maintain my patience while actually using the aggressive side of me when needed.
  5. Humor. There were moments of laughter there. People giggle and laugh together out of jokes.

What I wished:

  1. I wished I registered earlier than October. I could have avoided that line.
  2. I wished there were more than just 2 apparatuses for biometrics. That would definitely speed up the line. No budget for that? Bakit yung NBI, government office din naman pero madaming aparato kaya mabilis ang proseso? No budget for COMELEC or they just don’t want to fund its operations?
  3. I wished people who sneezed and coughed without covering their mouths were sent out. Ansama ba? They should have covered their mouths because in a place like that, it’s very easy to transmit and acquire viruses.
  4. I wished people who sweat a lot were separated from those who don’t hehe! Joke lang pero wish pa rin! (I belong to the latter ha! Hehe)
  5. I wished registrants did not bring their kids with them. I pity kids who had no choice but to endure that line with the elders who brought them. If no one would be left at home with their kids, they must’ve not gone to COMELEC and chose to stay at home with the children instead.
  6. I wished that COMELEC put up an express lane for the people they gave special treatment. It was very unfair to see registrants, who did not fall in line, walking directly to the biometrics room accompanied by COMELEC officials.

I am lucky that I did not have to go back there the next day unlike others. I am lucky that my registration took only hours, not days.

After going through and finishing the procedures, I walked out of the COMELEC building feeling more than happy and contented. It was like I was floating. Haha! That’s for real! Now, for the first time, I can exercise my right to vote on May! Let’s all be responsible voters.

Alright, this is one of long posts, I guess, or the only one?