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Extend overseas voting enlistment to Dec.

MANILA, Philippines — To achieve its target of having one million overseas absentee voters for next year’s election, the Commission on Election (Comelec) should extend its period of registration from August 31 to December 15 this year, a member of the House of Representatives, said on Wednesday.

In filing House Resolution 1249, Bayan Muna party list Representative Satur Ocampo said the extension of three and a half months would allow for more participation of Filipinos overseas in the election in May 2010.

”The Comelec and DFA-OAVS (Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat) need more time to realistically attain their target of one million overseas absentee voters and make up for all the constraints and shortcomings in the implementation of the project,” Ocampo said in his resolution.

Citing Comelec figures, Ocampo said that from February to May 27, only 85,784 had registered to vote for the 2010 election. (The latest figures as of early July put the number of OAV registrants at about 120,000.)

If it intends to meet its target of one million voters, Ocampo said there should be at least 166,666 registrants every month until August 31.

The DFA has estimated that there are 8.7 million Filipinos overseas, including 4.1 million contractual workers and about 900,000 undocumented migrants who are qualified to register and vote. Ocampo said that the Comelec should tap these new voters.

”It is imperative to extend the period of OAV registration to enable the Philippine posts to carry out the necessary steps to reach out and convince our millions of compatriots abroad to register,” Ocampo said.

He said the Comelec and the DFA-OAVS must embark on an aggressive campaign and implement mobile registration mechanisms especially in countries where large Filipino communities live or work far from the diplomatic posts, such as in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Italy.

Continuing registration of new voters started on February 1, 2009; it requires applicants to personally appear at the embassies or other diplomatic posts in the country where they would vote.

 

Extend overseas voting enlistment to Dec.’ By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net First Posted 15:39:00 07/08/2009 Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Migration
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