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OFWs poll registration center at NAIA 1

Posted on: February 24, 2009

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view_article.php?article_id=188658

By Jerome Aning, Anna Valmero
Philippine Daily Inquirer, INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:34am (Mla time) 02/11/2009

Filed Under: Overseas Employment, Eleksyon 2010, Elections

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Airport authorities and Commission on Election officials signed on Wednesday a memorandum of agreement opening a registration center at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for departing Filipino workers who would want to cast their ballots in the 2010 elections via overseas absentee voting (OAV).

Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Alfonso Cusi, Comelec Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis presided over simple rites for the formal opening of the center at the NAIA 1 OFW Lounge at 10 a.m.

“The fact that some of our countrymen are seeking greener pastures doesn’t mean they will be deprived of the right of suffrage,” said Ferrer, chairman of the poll body’s OAV committee.

Registration for the OAV ends this August 31.

“This is the first step for them to participate and exercise their right of suffrage in the May 2010 elections,” said Ferrer.

Ferrer said that most OFWs have difficulty enlisting because they worked far from the registration centers.

With the pre-departure poll centers, the Comelec “is making registration easier for OFWs,” he said.

To register, OWFs have to fill up OAV Form 1 and have their photographs, signatures and fingerprints captured by data capturing machines.

The Comelec has installed two DCM units and deployed staff to operate them.

Rafael Seguis, undersecretary for Special and Ocean Concerns and chairman of DFA-OAV Secretariat, said the DFA would provide staff to assist in the passport verification of OFWs.

During the registration in 2006, Seguis said 47,699 migrant workers were registered as absentee voters.

Seguis and Ferrer said they were projecting that about one million OFWs would sign up at the OAV registration centers in NAIA and at the Philippine embassies and consulates abroad.

They were optimistic that the upcoming presidential elections would motivate OFWs to register.

According to DFA statistics, about 1,384 migrant workers have registered in Philippine embassies and consulates abroad since the registration started February 2.

Under the law, OAV registration is to be held from February 1 to August 31 this year, said Ferrer.

Under the agreement, the pre-departure registration center can be transferred to NAIA Terminal 3 when it starts regular operations as a passenger terminal.

MIAA general manager Alfonso Cusi said his office would support the Comelec’s OAV registration efforts.

On Thursday, the Comelec will open another OAV registration center at the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) office, Ferrer said.

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