DFA: Almost 30,000 overseas Pinoys have cast their ballots
By Pia Lee-Brago
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – The first week of overseas absentee voting (OAV) in Philippine embassies and consulates general around the world had a good turnout of voters, with almost 30,000 Filipinos casting their ballots.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday the OAV started last April 10 in electoral precincts in 93 Philippine embassies and consulates general around the world.
The DFA-Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat reported that 29,383 registered voters have cast their ballots during the first week of voting.
The embassies and consulates general with the highest number of voters are in Hong Kong (5,389), Riyadh (2,639), Jeddah (1,464), Singapore (1,256), Los Angeles (1,288), New York (1,085), San Francisco (1,074), London (965), Washington D.C. (723), and Kuwait (694).
In terms of region, the Asia-Pacific has the most number of voters with 10,505 ballots cast, followed by the Middle East and Africa with 8,708 votes, the Americas with 6,312 ballots, and Europe with 3,858 votes.
“The first week of OAV went well and without major hitches,” said DFA Undersecretary and OAV secretariat chairman Rafael Seguis.
“We are encouraging registered overseas absentee voters to exercise their right of suffrage, so they can be involved in deciding who will compose our next set of national leaders. We also urge them to vote now to avoid last minute queues at the polling places,” he added.
A total of 589,830 overseas Filipinos are registered for the overseas absentee voting.
Seguis said the OAV Support Center at the DFA, under the guidance of OAV secretariat vice chairman Nestor Padalhin, will be operating round-the-clock for the duration of the national elections.
The center provides support to the embassies and consulates general by responding to queries, accepting reports, and providing election-related information.
Overseas voters will have the opportunity to elect the next president, vice president, 12 senators, and one party-list representative. They have one month, or until May 10, to cast their vote.
There are three modes of voting in the OAV exercise – automated voting using precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in Hong Kong and Singapore; personal voting; and postal voting in other embassies and consulates general.