MANILA (June 18) — Nearly two months before registration of overseas absentee voters closes, the Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reports that more than a hundred thousand Filipinos overseas have registered with various diplomatic posts.
But as the deadline approaches August 31 of this year, a surge of registrants is expected to swamp diplomatic offices abroad. “This has always been the case in previous registration drives, the nearer it is to the deadline, the greater the number of last-minute registrants, said DFA Undersecretary for Special Concerns Rafael Seguis.
Seguis noted that 27,000 Filipinos set to leave for abroad or who are on vacation in Manila have availed of the OAV registration service at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
“We are calling on all Filipinos overseas and those who are about to leave the country to work abroad to register as absentee voters so they can exercise their right to vote in the 2010 presidential elections,” Undersecretary Seguis stressed, adding that his office is in touch with different posts and have called on every embassy and consulate to intensify its campaign on absentee voting registration.
As of Wednesday, June 17, the number of absentee voting registrants totaled 104, 475, broken down per geographic area and Philippine-based registration centers, as follows:
Asia and the Pacific – 28, 770
Americas – 21, 386
Middle East and Africa – 18, 627
Europe – 12, 618
POEA – 13, 588
NAIA – 8,757
CFO – 729
So far, the top ten countries in terms of OAV registrants are:
1. United States of America – 17,262
2. China – 11, 250
3. United Arab Emirates – 7,297
4. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 5, 176
5. Singapore – 4,577
6. Taiwan – 4,136
7. United Kingdom – 4,066
8. Canada – 4,009
9. Japan – 3,510
10. Italy – 2,799
The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong has reported the highest number of registrants at 10,455 followed by the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California with 6,534 registrants. In the Middle East, 5,571 Filipinos in Dubai have registered with the Philippine Consulate General thus earning the number one spot among the different posts in the said region.
In Europe, the Philippine Embassy in London leads the different posts with 4,066 registrants.
According to the OAVS, registration activities are ongoing in all 93 Foreign Service Posts, three Manila Economic and Cultural Offices (MECO), and one Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO).
A Memorandum of Agreement between the DFA-OAVS, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, and the Commission on Elections-Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting was signed on June 4 to increase the participation of overseas Filipinos to register as absentee voters. These include Filipino permanent migrants or permanent residents abroad, Filipinos overseas who have become citizens of other countries, and Filipino spouses and fiancées of foreign nationals leaving the country.