PH consulate in New York: 70% of ballots mailed to voters
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Consulate General in New York has mailed out 70 percent of ballots to Filipino overseas voters under its jurisdiction, Consul General Elmer Cato said Thursday.
“As of this evening, we already have sent out almost 70 percent. So confident naman po kami na mapapadala namin lahat ng balota to our kababayan [So we are confident that we will be able to mail the ballots to our fellow Filipinos] here in the United States Northeast before the end of the week,” Cato told dzMM in an interview.
“Kahit na may na-COVID po sa ‘min, yung natitira samin, nandito pa rin, nandito sa konsulado ngayon. We’re trying to do everything we can para makuha ng ating mga kababayan ang kanilang mga balota,” he added.
(Even though some of us contracted or were exposed to COVID, the rest are still here in the consulate. We’re trying to do everything we can so our countrymen here receive their ballot.)
He noted that some of the ballots the consulate mailed last week to the voters have already returned.
Consular services are suspended this week with nearly half of the consulate’s staff having contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. However, overseas voting operations in the consulate continue.
“Hindi namin inaasahan ito [We did not expect this],” Cato said, referring to the consulate staff’s exposure to COVID-19.
“We think tinamaan kami kasi for the past nine days, talagang nagtatrabaho yung mga kasama natin dito sa konsulado dahil may overseas voting tayo, delayed yung pagdating nung ating mga balota mula sa Manila so we were under pressure to really work for it,” he said.
(We think we got hit because for the past nine days, the staff here worked continuously because of the overseas voting, and because the delivery of election materials from Manila was delayed we were under pressure to really work for it.)
“Kaya after office hours, starting Monday last week, nago-overtime na po kami, yung Holy Week break namin di namin nakuha yan, dire-diretso kami so talagang puyat, pagod kaya siguro tinablan na kami nung COVID variant dito,” he added.
(That’s why even after office hours, starting Monday last week, we worked overtime, we did not use our Holy Week break, we continued to work so maybe it was the lack of sleep and the exhaustion that made us vulnerable to the COVID variant here.)
Last week, the consulate reminded Filipinos in New York to comply with basic COVID-19 safety protocols as local authorities monitor the “prevalence of two new COVID-19 variants.”
The consulate has jurisdiction over the northeastern United States. This includes 39,048 registered Filipino overseas voters in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
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