Overseas voters’ listup is down | Global News

Overseas voters’ listup is down

MANILA, Philippines—A migrant rights group on Saturday lamented the dismal number of new overseas absentee voting (OAV) registrants despite the year-long registration period.

Migrante Sectoral Party (MSP) chair Connie Bragas-Regalado said the 161,153 new overseas absentee voters who registered worldwide as of July 1 was a small percentage of the estimated 9.5-million Filipinos living and working abroad.

The 12-month OAV registration, which began on Oct. 31 last year, runs until Oct. 31 this year. Only three more months remain for other overseas Filipinos to register.


“Obviously, the 161,000 new overseas absentee voters comprise a small percentage of the total number of Filipinos abroad, considering that the OAV system is not new and has been a component of the Philippine electoral exercise for more than a decade since the passage of the OAV law,” Regalado said.


“We don’t even know how many, out of the 161,000 new registrants, will actually cast their votes. Sixty percent? Thirty percent? Or a dismal 10 percent?” she added.

Regalado said MSP figures showed that in the 2004 elections, the number of registered absentee voters totaled 359,296, but only 233,137 (or 64.89 percent) voted.

In the 2007 election, the number of those who registered went up to 504,124, but those who actually voted went down to 81,731 (16.27 percent), Regalado said.

In the 2010 elections, those who registered totaled 585,830, but only 153,323 (25.99 percent) voted, she added.

Regalado also noted that the budget allotted for the OAV had gone down from P300 million in 2004 to P238.421 million in 2007, P188.086 million in 2010, and only P43 million for this year.

Of the P43 million allotted this year, only P7 million was allocated for the registration drive, Regalado said.


She said the MSP should improve its information campaign to encourage more Filipinos abroad to register and vote.

The government had set a target of one-million new absentee voters.

Based on government reports, Regalado said the countries with the most number of registrants were those that had large Filipino communities.

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These include Los Angeles in the United States; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Kuwait; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Milan, Italy; San Francisco, California; Tel Aviv, Israel; Singapore; Hong Kong, and Rome, Italy.

TAGS: comelec, OAV, Overseas Absentee Voting, Overseas Filipino workers

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