MANILA, Philippines – An additional 18,403 Filipinos worldwide have registered to vote in next year’s elections, bringing to 115,371 the total number of new overseas absentee voters (OAVs), according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In a report posted on its website, the DFA Monday said the Philippines’ 90-plus embassies and consulates abroad accounted for 71,508 new OAVs.
Philippine nationals based in Los Angeles, California, topped the list of registrants with 5,913, followed by those in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 5,856; Kuwait, 4,106; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 3,990; Milan, Italy, 3,683; San Francisco, California, 3,528; Tel Aviv, Israel, 3,440; Singapore, 3,432; Hong Kong, 3,211; and Rome, Italy, 3,193.
Rounding up the top 20 places were London, United Kingdom, 2,651; Toronto, Canada, 2,433; Manama, Bahrain, 2,304; Vancouver, Canada, 2,061; Washington, DC, 1,375; New York City, 1,326; Chicago, Illinois, 1,255; Beirut, Lebanon, 1,198; Honolulu, Hawaii, 1,192; and Barcelona, Spain, 1,173.
By region, the Middle East and Africa topped the list with 23,684 new OAVs, followed by the Americas, 21,523; Europe, 14,242; and Asia and the Pacific, 12,059.
Registration centers at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminals 1 and 2 accounted for 16,647 and 5,694 OAVs, respectively, while the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Commission on Filipinos Overseas and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration registered 13,267, 7,709 and 546 voters, respectively.
The 12-month OAV registration, which began on October 31, 2011, runs until October 31 this year.
The elections will be held on May 13, 2013, but absentee voters are given a longer period to vote.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has directed the DFA’s foreign posts to intensify further the OAV registration.
The same posts “continue to exert all possible efforts to increase the number of OAV registrants and voters for the 2013 national elections,” said DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez.
In 2010, the Commission on Elections registered nearly 590,000 Filipinos as absentee voters.
According to DFA insiders, the government had failed to meet its target of enlisting one million absentee voters because “many overseas Filipino workers had to take a one-day leave at work and travel to Philippine diplomatic posts to register while some host countries prohibit assembly of foreign workers.” Jerry E. Esplanada