SENATOR Imee Marcos said the government will be ready to pilot-test voting by mail on a larger scale by 2022 to benefit more Filipino voters by 2025.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms, called on fellow lawmakers not to underestimate the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) which expects to launch its computerized mail management system within the first quarter of 2021 and complete its upgrade before the May 2022 elections.
“We can’t give up without trying at least a few times. Maybe we can pilot in a few manageable areas in 2022, with the hope of expanding voting by post by 2025,” Marcos said.
“While we are all nervous about mail-in ballots, never having experienced an election by post, I think testing the capacity of Philpost will be a worthwhile effort,” Marcos added.
In a letter to Senator Marcos, PHLPost’s Corporate Officer-in-Charge Joel Zamudio said the government postal service is “confident that it can meet the delivery requirements” if mail-in voting is adopted as an option in the May 2022 elections.
Marcos cited that PHLPost partnered with the Commission on Elections to implement overseas absentee voting in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016, sending ballots and other voting materials to and from Philippine embassies and consulates worldwide so that Filipinos abroad could cast their votes.
“Certainly, pilot-testing on a larger scale to also include senior citizens, pregnant women, PWDs and IPs will need support from the national budget for 2022,” Marcos said.
Marcos filed the Voting By Mail Act as Senate Bill 1870 to provide a socially sensitive and convenient option for citizens whose state of health or distance from polling precincts reduced their chances of taking part in national elections.