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SAYS POLL OFFICIAL No extension for absentee voter registration

Posted on: July 10, 2009

SAYS POLL OFFICIAL
No extension for absentee voter registration
By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net First Posted 15:43:00 07/10/2009 Filed Under: Migration, Justice & Rights, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Philippines – Metro, Philippines – Regions

MANILA, Philippines—An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the deadline for registration of overseas absentee voters (OAVs) will not be extended.

Comelec Commissioner in charge of OAV Nicodemo Ferrer told INQUIRER.net the period of registration from February 1 to August 31 is “long enough” to accommodate listing of OAVs for the upcoming 2010 elections.

“Hindi na natin i-extend ang registration period dahil mahaba na iyon (We will not extend further the deadline for OAV registration because it is long enough),” he said.

“Often, it is in our culture to register only if the deadline is near and then ask for an extension at the last minute. You have to understand that the approval process of voter applications is a long process—there are hearings and it will have to finally approved by the en banc,” he added.

To encourage more OAVs to register, the COAV in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs have put up OAV registration booths for departing or arriving overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and for Filipinos processing their papers at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), said Ferrer.

COAV member Glinis Tamondong said the committee has been augmenting registration at Philippine posts and consulates through 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 for seafarers and OFWs near the area. “Akyat Barko” conducts registration in the ports of Antwerp, other parts of Belgium, and in Luxembourg.

Tamondong also reminded Filipinos returning from abroad and who plan to stay in the country during the 2010 polls can transfer their voter registration to their local residence until September 30 or they will not be able to vote in 2010.

Ferrer said he is “optimistic to achieve the target of 1 million registered absentee voters” by the August 31 deadline.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez concurred and told INQUIRER.net that the poll body was aiming to add another half a million new OAV registrants to the existing half a million registered in the 2007 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.

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