VOTERS seeking to register lined up inside the Quezon City Science High School on Sept. 20 as they waited to be called by election officers. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE SENATE on Wednesday passed on second reading a bill that seeks to extend voter registration for the 2022 elections until Oct. 31 amid a coronavirus pandemic.

Senators approved Senate Bill 2408 after the Commission on Elections rejected a call to extend the registration period.

About 12 million voters have yet to register, Senator Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan has said, citing the Commission on Elections and the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Meanwhile, Speaker Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, and Party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen S. Paduano on Tuesday filed a similar bill to “avoid massive voter disenfranchisement.”

“We are living under extraordinary circumstances,” according to a copy of the bill’s explanatory note. “The public health crisis has been prolonged and many prospective voters have been forced to delay their registration this year and in 2020.”

Both chambers earlier adopted separate resolutions urging the election body to extend the registration period. Unlike a bill, a resolution does not have the force of law once approved. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Russell Louis C. Ku

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