7M of 10M overseas Pinoys can vote–DFA
At least 7 million out of the approximately 10 million Filipinos abroad can qualify as registered voters, according to estimates of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Overseas Voting Secretariat.
The number is based on the registered Filipinos who live and work abroad, most of whom have acquired foreign citizenship.
Filipinos who acquired foreign citizenship were urged to apply for dual citizenship to register for overseas voting.
The DFA said it has trained over 500 personnel to assist staff and officers in 30 Philippine embassies and consulates to hold the April 9 absentee voting for the 2016 national elections.
There are two ways Filipinos can vote abroad in both presidential and senatorial elections: one, by signing up in the Philippine embassies and consulates; and two, in government offices such as Philippine Overseas Employment Administration before they leave for work abroad.
Figures from the DFA overseas voting office obtained by the Inquirer showed that the 1.37 million registered voters for the April 9 absentee voting for presidential elections represents only a small chunk of the population of Filipinos who can qualify for the absentee voting.
The document also revealed that Filipinos in Europe showed the least interest in participating in the Overseas Absentee Voting, with only 42.32 percent or 88,524 new registered voters compared with the DFA target of 204,350.
Filipinos in the Middle East showed the highest interest in absentee voting this year, with 336,202 new registered voters or 109.51 percent of the DFA target of 307,000.
There are three modes of voting for Filipinos abroad to increase voting turnout, the DFA said.
For those in Arab countries, registered voters will have 30 days to cast their votes starting April 9.
At the same time, registered voters in the United States, Europe and Singapore will receive ballots by mail, which they can fill up and return by mail to the Philippine embassies and consulates.
Embassies and consulates in several countries have also asked host governments to allow them to conduct field voting in areas frequented by Filipinos.
In the last 12 years, absentee voting has been conducted in Philippine embassies and consulates.
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