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10, 824 additional OAVs—Comelec exec US tops list of new registrants–DFA

Posted on: March 6, 2009

Update post

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 12:33:00 03/06/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Overseas Employment, Migration

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 10,824 Filipinos registered as overseas absentee voters (OAVs) worldwide as of March 3, said the spokesman of the Commission on Elections Friday.

Lawyer James Jimenez told INQUIRER.net that the poll body was aiming to have at least .5 million new OAVs to add to the existing .5 million registered in the 2007 elections. He said OAV registration started in February 1 and will end August 11.

“We are optimistic that with the heightened political awareness of the electorate, we will be able to have one million OAVs for the 2010 elections,” Jimenez said.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis said the United States topped the list, with 3,003 new OAVs, followed by Asia-Pacific with 2,446, Europe with 2,238, and Middle East and Africa with 853.

Others with high OAV registration turnout are Hong Kong (1,007), Toronto (848), Los Angeles (816), London (747), Singapore (645), New York (496). Washington, Milan, Riyadh, and Brunei also recorded good turnouts, said Seguis.

To encourage more OAV registrants, the Comelec set up special centers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for departing Filipino Workers (OFWs) in February, said Seguis.

At least 1,289 and 995 OAVs registered at the NAIA and POEA listing centers, said Seguis.

Glinis Tamondong, member of the Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV), said the COAV has been receiving requests from Philippine posts abroad for field and mobile registrations in places where OFWs gather.

She cited the “Akyat Barko” OAV registration requested by Ambassador Cristina Ortega of the Philippine Embassy in Brussels. “Akya Barko” will conduct registration in the ports of Antwerp and a mobile registration in Belgium and Luxemborg.

Citing Comelec data, Tamondong said at least 123, 422 OAVs have been deleted from the national registry of OAVs (NROAV) for failing to vote at least twice in past elections. Filipinos deleted from the NROAV have to register again so that they could vote in the 2010 elections.

Requirements for OAV registration are:

• Valid Philippine passport. In the absence of a passport, a certification from the DFA that it has reviewed the appropriate documents of the applicant and found them sufficient to warrant the issuance of a passport, or that the applicant was a holder of a valid passport but was unable to produce it for a valid reason would be enough.

• Photocopy of the Seaman’s Book or any other pertinent document if a seafarer.

• The original or certified true copy of the Order or Approval of the application to retain or reacquire Filipino citizenship or Oath of Allegiance issued by the Post or Bureau of Immigration if a dual citizen.

The commission might require additional documents to establish the identity and qualification of the applicant.

Jimenez said the poll body commended Migrante – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), an OFW formation center in the Middle East, for encouraging fellow Filipinos to register as OAVs.

“The commission commends Migrante KSA for taking an active role in encouraging our compatriots in the region to exercise their right to vote. With their help, the Comelec is optimistic that even in the arid desserts of Saudi Arabia, Filipinos can and will be enabled to plant the ‘seeds of change’ in the homeland by way of their votes,” said Jimenez.

Jimenez cited the group’s efforts to conduct information drives in the Filipino community and for coming up with their own primer on Overseas Absentee Voting.

“We are encouraging other OFW formations worldwide to follow Migrante’s lead and help us encourage wider voter participation among OFWs. Let us prove that distance and oceans are not a hindrance in voting for the nation’s next set of leaders in 2010,” said Jimenez.

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