09/23/2021, 17.40
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Long queues to register for next year’s Philippine presidential election

The first problem for Philippine voters is registering for next May’s election. Offices have been closed for weeks due to the pandemic. Ex boxer Manny Pacquaio has announced a run for the presidency, but faces Duterte loyalists. The outgoing president cannot run under current rules.

Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Next year’s presidential election in the Philippines is heating up after popular professional boxer Manny Pacquiao announced his intention to jump into the political arena to become President Rodrigo Duterte's successor.

At present though, Filipinos have to deal with difficulties in registering for the May 2022 election. Just one week before the deadline for registration on 30 September, people are queuing up for hours outside the offices of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

The lockdown imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc to the registration process since COMELEC offices were shut down for months.

Many groups and Members of the Philippine Congress are urging the commission to extend the registration period by at least one month and to allow registration even in areas under tighter quarantine measures.

While waiting for a decision, local media are describing scenes with people waiting six to eight hours just to register.

What is more, presidential hopefuls have until 8 October to fill out the paperwork to become candidates. Under the country’s current constitution, incumbent Duterte cannot run again.

This left the field to people like Manny Pacquiao, a 42-year-old boxer and senator, who announced his intention to run for president last Monday.

Although a member of the PDP-Laban, Duterte’s own party, Pacquiao is running against Duterte’s record, especially over the question of relations with China.

He has in fact accused the outgoing president of being too soft on China and its territorial claims in the South China Sea and wants to boost the traditional alliance with the United States.

In all likelihood however, Pacquiao will not be the only PDP-Laban candidate of. Duterte loyalists have already declared their support for Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, who has not yet accepted.

Further mudding the waters, Duterte is planning to run for vice president while his daughter Sara Duterte, the popular incumbent mayor of Davao City, is waiting in the wings.

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