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The COMELEC Has Joined TikTok to Amplify the Call For Filipinos to Be Registered Voters

The deadline to be a registered voter for 2022 is fast approaching.
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With only days left to register as a voter for the 2022 National Elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) enlists the help of Tiktok to widen their audience and encourage the youth to exercise their right to suffrage by becoming eligible voters as soon as possible. Their partnership also aims to combat misinformation, especially since election season could be another trigger for fake news on social media. In addition, the official TikTok account for COMELEC also plans to use the platform to spread election-related information. Followers can expect featured events, election data, and up-to-date voting results. 

TikTok, the video-sharing platform, launched in September 2017. It quickly rose to fame when content creators used the app to make creative 15-second videos (now up to a minute) for various purposes, giving fame to dance crazes and new TikTok creators turned celebrities all over the world. With its strict Community Guidelines for creators and users alike as a massive platform that grew bigger because of quarantine, TikTok is dedicated to becoming a safe space that gives room for educational content and authoritative information. TikTok is known for the quick response to inaccurate or inappropriate content, once reported. TikTok influencers are under the watchful eye of society, holding them accountable for irresponsible use. COMELEC believes that TikTok will be a suitable partner for their initiative to give the Filipino community a more accessible platform to learn and share about the elections. 

This partnership was made official by a Memorandum of Understanding signing between the two parties on the 8th of September 2021. The event was streamed on TikTok live, hosted by Julienne Ipapo, a content creator. Gracing the unveiling of their official Tiktok account was COMELEC Commissioner Aileen Ferolino alongside Kristoffer Rada, TikTok Head for Public Policy. Rada spoke about their partnership, “TikTok's partnership with COMELEC opens up new and innovative ways to share and consume accurate information about the coming elections for the Filipino public. We are committed to providing credible, fact-based content to help Filipino voters make informed choices during the election period."

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COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez also spoke of the partnership with TikTok, “Venturing into emerging platforms and tapping into their vast network of users has been our long-standing advocacy, as it allows the Commission on Elections to broaden the reach of its voter education and information drive. Through this partnership with TikTok for the 2022 National and Local Elections, we forge a valuable cooperation that will buttress our goal of conducting clean, honest, and credible elections.”

Last year, Jimenez challenged Filipino TikTok creators to put their platform to use.

In anticipation of longer lines at COMELEC offices (open Tuesday to Saturday, from 8:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m.), they've also partnered with and opened satellite registration sites in select SM or Ayala malls. The requirements for voter registration can be found on the COMELEC website, but here's a quick guide just in case you want to help your friends and family register as soon as possible. First, you have to download and fill out the CEF-1 application form through their site or through https://irehistro.comelec.gov.ph/cef1, alongside the Coronavirus Self Declaration Form. For special cases, like PWDs, there might be additional forms to fill out. These can be printed beforehand to ensure a quick process. You also have to bring a valid ID and your own ballpen. Of course, a face mask and face shield are required. An express lane for PWDS, Senior Citizens, and pregnant women will be available. However, everyone is expected to follow safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially with the Delta variant.

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At present, COMELEC's deadline for voter registration is on the 30th of September, but there have been calls for extensions, given that the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine protocols have made going out more difficult for many. Vice President Leni Robredo amplified the call for extension because of “extraordinary circumstances,” through her weekly radio show on DZXL on September 19, Sunday. She hopes that voter registration will be extended at least until October 31, 2021 to give Filipinos more time to participate in the 2022 elections. With the political situation and need for a faster COVID-19 response, we can only hope for more people to register and think of the future of Philippine governance in the next six years.

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Marielle Fatima Tuazon
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