June 21, 2024

The Commission on Elections is looking into prohibiting the use of deepfake technology and artificial Intelligence (AI) during the campaign period for the May 2025 midterm polls.

Comelec Chair George Garcia said the measure is timely as these technologies might create confusion among voters.

“It would be good if we can tackle the ban on the use of AI or deepfakes in election campaign. Campaign should be realistic. I would convince our Commission en banc to ban the use of deepfakes and AI in election campaign because many are being confused and it can cause misrepresentation. We are veering away from reality if we use these,” he said.

Deepfakes are an advanced form of digital content manipulation through generative AI, where a person in an image or video is swapped with another person’s likeness.

Garcia said personal interactions between poll bets and the electorate is much better than communicating using new techonologies.

“Alam po natin ang modern technology. Bakit ba hindi? Subalit dapat po, kapag kampanya, ikaw mismo ang nakikita ng sambayanan. Ikaw mismo ang nanliligaw sa kanila,” he said.

Garcia, however, said he is open to the ideas of other members of the en banc who would like to allow AI use during campaign.

“But in my view, this is a big threat to our democracy, to the reality of what should be done during elections and campaign,” he said.

He also asked for the opinion of other offices in Comelec regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, the Comelec reported that the number of voter registrants seeking to be voters for next year’s polls has reached 3.2 million.

Based on its latest data as of May 28, there are now 3,210,523 applicants to become registered voters, since the start of the registration period last Feb. 12 until May 28.

Region 4-A (Calabarzon) is still the area with the highest number of applicants with 568,411, followed by the National Capital Region with 463,364; Region 3 (Central Luzon) with 372,090; and Region 7 (Central Visayas) with 218,329.

The regions with more than 100,000 applicants are Region 11 (Davao Region) with 184,141; Region 6 (Western Visayas), 177,355; Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), 158,226; Region 5 (Bicol Region), 142,383; Region Region 12 (Soccsksargen), 137,539; Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 127,019; Region 1 (Ilocos Region), 124,482; Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 119,696, and Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), 111,958.

The areas with low number of registrants are the Cordillera with 41,607; Region 4-B (Mimaropa), 80,621; and Region 13 (Caraga), 81,789.

The voter sign-up period ends on Sept. 30.  – PNA