Comelec ‘promo’ for OFWs to vote in 2013 polls hit
A Filipino migrants’ rights group in the Middle East has criticized a Commission on Elections planned promo offering all-expenses-paid trips and gift checks to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to encourage them to register and vote in the 2013 mid-term elections.
“The free trips and gift checks promo by the Comelec just to encourage OFWs to register is a cheap publicity stunt. It is like we, OFWs, are treated like a crying kid that is given a candy to stop from crying,” said John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of Migrante-Middle East.
He had been urging the Comelec and the Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat (OAVS) to conduct an information and education drive on the overseas voters’ registration in various posts abroad and in places where there are large concentrations of OFWs.
But he noted that no such drive or campaign has been started in various diplomatic posts in the Middle East even as the OAV registration had already started last November.
The Comelec earlier said the incentives were aimed at increasing the dismal figures of OAV registration.
In the last two months, only 16,070 OFWs had registered for the 2013 elections, far below the Comelec’s target of at least one million from an estimated 12 million Filipinos working abroad, the Comelec noted.
Monterona said the lack of an information and education drive was one of the reasons why the number of registered absentee voters has not reached the Comelec’s 1 million target.
The Comelec budget for information and education campaign must be utilized to attain a higher number of registered absentee voters, he said. Tina G. Santos
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