At least 118,000 Filipinos based abroad have been registered by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as overseas absentee voters in the past nine months, bringing the total number of overseas absentee voters to more than 1.4 million.
Commissioner Arthur Lim said the poll body’s regional election registration boards have approved the applications for registration of 118,335 overseas Filipino voters as of September 30.
“We have 118,335 registered overseas voters. Additional applications for registration being readied for the next round of RERB hearings,” said Lim, who heads the Office for Overseas Voting.
It may be recalled that the Comelec resumed its overseas voters’ registration for the May 2019 midterm polls last December 1, 2016, which will end on September 30, 2018.
So far, the Comelec has recorded 1,376,067 overseas absentee voters in the May 2016 national and local elections.
“So this figure of 118,335 newly-approved new registrants will bring the total to 1,418,335 registered overseas voters as of September 30,” Lim said.
Filipino citizens who are abroad or who will be out of the country during the 30-day absentee voting period may register as overseas absentee voters.
Applications may be filed at Philippine embassies and consulates, or at designated registration centers outside the Philippine post abroad or in the Philippines as approved by the Comelec.
Earlier, the Comelec said it expected around one million new overseas absentee voting registrants during the 22-month registration period.
Lim admitted that it would be difficult to reach their target, although they remain optimistic.
“It is admittedly a difficult target. But hope springs eternal. We are doubling our efforts and keeping our fingers crossed. With help, we might reach it,” he added. /kga