April 24, 2019

A Guide to the May 2019 Elections in the Philippines

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  • Filipinos will soon be electing their senatorial bets as well as local government leaders on May 13, 2019. Before the polls open, here’s our short primer on what to expect before, during, and after the elections.

    2019 General Election

    This is the midterm general election where the winning bets will take office on June 30, midway into President Rodrigo Duterte’s term. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) will administer the election.

    In accordance with the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, the election of members of Congress is on every second Monday of May. Election silence or the ban on political campaigning starts on May 12 to May 13, election day.

    Also read: Philippine Elections: The Culture, the Drama, the Battle


    18th Congress: There are 24 seats in the Senate and 12 of them will be open for election and will serve until the year 2025. The other 12 who were elected during the 2016 election will serve until 2022. Filipinos can vote up to 12 senatorial candidates.

    House of Representatives: There are currently 297 seats in the House made up of 238 district representatives and 59 party-list representatives for a 3-year term. Filipinos can vote only 1 representative for their district and 1 party-list.

    Provincial and Local Government: Provincial governors, local and provincial mayors, vice positions, and legislatures will also be open for elections. These positions only hold three-year terms, therefore the 2019 winning bet will serve until 2022.

    Filipinos can only vote one mayor and one vice mayor. The number of seats in the position of legislatures (Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Sangguniang Panlungsod, and Sangguniang Bayan) varies.

    Election Ballot Sample

    The COMELEC website has put up a number of useful guides for registered voters such as the list of candidates, election laws such as the gun ban, and ballot face templates. The ballot face templates show a mock design of the scantron ballot voters will be handed during the election. Voters can use this sample as a guide to the instructions and candidates.

    Election Day

    Election day is declared a non-working holiday by the Office of the President a few days ahead to allow people to exercise their right to vote. The voting precincts will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 13.

    Some of the prohibited acts include campaigning, selling, offering, buying, serving, or taking intoxicating liquor from the eve of election til election day (May 12 to 13). A gun ban is imposed as well as a ban on holding of fairs, cockfights, boxing, horse races or any other similar sports.

    Also read: Expat Guide: What happens during Philippine Elections

    In the precinct, voters will be provided the ballot, a secrecy folder, and pen. They will also be the one to feed the ballot on the Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) machine, take the receipt, and drop it on the voter’s receipt receptacle.


    According to COMELEC’s Resolution No. 10429 on the calendar of activities for the midterm elections, the winners of the senatorial, congressional, party-list, regional and provincial elections will be proclaimed around May 17 to 19.

    Sources: COMELECHouse of Representatives
    Images from the Philippine Information AgencyUniversity of the Philippines

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