Overseas votes cost P1,310 each


Sen. Franklin Drilon: Review of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—They spent so much but showed very little for it.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are being asked to explain where the P148.4 million they allegedly spent for the overseas absentee voting went with only 15 percent of voters abroad actually casting their ballots in the May 13 elections.

Sen. Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, on Thursday said he would file the appropriate resolution for a review of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act (OAV) when the 16th Congress convenes in July.

Drilon said in the weekly Senate news forum the turnout among the 737,759 registered Filipino voters abroad was “dismal to say the least.”

“Our estimate is that we spend P1,300 per capita for each vote cast by our overseas Filipinos. I am getting initial reports about the inefficiencies particularly in the addresses indicated in the voters’ list and therefore the voting by mail had not been effective and had resulted in just about 15 percent of the registered voters casting their ballots on Election Day,” he said.

Drilon, who shepherded the P2.006-trillion 2013 national budget in the Senate, said P105.038 million was allocated to the Comelec and P43.41 million to the DFA for the OAV exercise.

Aside from the problematic conduct of the OAV implementation, Drilon said there were also reports of some Filipinos no longer interested in elections.

Dismal performance

“We must rekindle the spirit of our Filipinos overseas to participate in the electoral process in our country,” Drilon said.

“[Many] of the circumstances add up to the dismal performance of our OAV system so we will sit down and review with the Comelec and the DFA why we have not succeeded in generating interest or generating higher voting percentage on our overseas compatriots,” he added.

Drilon recalled that he specifically told DFA officials to increase the participation of Filipinos in the OAV this year amid the tightening fiscal position.

“With only 113,209 overseas Filipinos voting, the cost of each absentee vote is now P1,310 per vote. This is outrageous. I wonder how the Comelec and the DFA can justify these numbers,” Drilon said earlier.

Drilon said he was in favor of Internet voting in an attempt to increase the turnout in the next elections. “I’m open to suggestions. I just want assurances that the sanctity of the ballot will not be compromised by such systems,” he said.

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  • koolkid_inthehouse

    Were they aware of this overseas vote or disinterested on electing donkeys and political dynasties. Did COMELEC & DFA not interested in the spending the money to process the OAV to keep the money in their pockets?

  • farmerpo

    OFWs are not interested to vote. They are OFWs because of the prevalent corruption in the Philippines strangling economic development. Why vote again for the corrupt or soon to be corrupt? This perception is also true about (not) paying taxes. Why pay taxes when it is pocketed by corrupt officials and politicians? Kung walang korap walang mahirap is right. Get all branches of government in order then probably, enthusiasm for voting will again be the norm. It is a big order, but what else is there?

  • Ernesto Gange

    Voting via Internet for Overseas Filipinos is a good idea, and, I will support it. The cost of (P1,310.00) per vote for overseas Filipinos is really high. I believe, that, most of the cost was for transportation and salaries of the DFA Staff members who travel to the Filipino population centers on weekends to register voters. I suggest, that we follow the system of voter registration in the United States, where.anybody can take a Voter Registration Form, have it filled by a potential voter, and mail it to the Board of Elections Registrar in the County. I suggested this idea to our Philippine Consular Staff in New York, and, I was told that, “ONLY CONSULAR STAFF MEMBERS ARE ALLOWED TO DO THE REGISTRATION.”. I suggested, that, the Department of Foreign Affairs DEPUTIZE Community Leaders of Filipino Organizations, to help register Filipinos in their respective communities. It will reduce the cost of registration and maximize the number of voter registrants. We will not do the processing, but, the DFA. We will help in identify those who are qualified to vote in our area. By the way, I am one of the surviving members of the Committee who drafted themDual Citizenship Law and the Overseas Voting Law in New York City in 1988. Our Team Leader then was the young and smart Philippine Consul Eduardo Malaya, who worked under Ambassador Rodolfo Arizala, Philippine Consulate General New York. The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs was Secretary Raul Manglapus..
    We handed the finished DRAFT to the former Speaker Jose De Venecia, who authored it in the Lower House, and, Senator Franklin Drilon was the author in the Philippine Senate. We are not be surprised why Senator Drilon is very interested to know the outcome of the Law which he authored.
    I suggest, that Department of Foreign Affairs deputize the Filipino Community leaders to help them register qualified Filipino Overseas Voters in their respective areas. The current policy of the DFA must change., that, the Philippine Consulate This is the reason why our cost per overseas voter is over P 1,310.00
    Ernesto M. Gange
    US Pinoys For Good Governance
    Convenor for Pennsylvania, USA

  • boybakal

    Overseas votes cost P1,310 each….Next time perahin na lang.

  • Kaizensigma

    Perhaps its more costs effective to just pay off voters which is “normal”, prevalent and customary in the PHL electoral process for generations.

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