The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing alternatives for voting for Filipinos abroad, including internet voting, its chairman said on Thursday.

In a public briefing, Comelec chairman George Garcia said only 39 percent of overseas Filipinos were able to cast votes in the 2022 elections.

“Mas maganda sigurong magbigay tayo ng ibang alternatibo […] Kung papayagan natin ang internet voting para sa kanila, lalo’t naka set up ‘yung mismong mekanismo para protektahan ang kanilang mga boto, e mas palagay ko, mas tataas ‘yung bilang ng mga bototante…overseas na makakaboto,” he said.

“More or less, pu-push natin ‘yan. Subalit ang may final say sa lahat ng mga detalye na ganyan ay ang ating Kongreso,” he added.

Garcia also said he was eyeing an earlier voting period for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and pregnant women in the next election period.

“Sa aking palagay, ito na ang tamang panahon na payagan na natin mas makaboto nang mas maaga ‘yung mga nakakatanda sa atin at saka ‘yung may mga kapansanan, kahit nga po ‘yung mga buntis. Upang hindi po sila makasama sa pagboto ng karamihan” he said.

“Kung napapaboto nga natin ‘yung tinatawag na local absentee voting…bakit naman hindi natin kayang pabotohin ‘yung mga nakakatanda para hindi na sila aakyat ng hagdan, o kahit na hindi na sila pipila ng pagkahabahaba mapapagod. O ‘yung mga may kapansanan, naka wheelchair, ay nahihirapan,” he added.

The Philippines logged a record-high 83-percent voter turnout in the 2022 elections, with 55,549,791 of the country’s 65,745,512 registered voters casting their votes. John Ezekiel J. Hirro