More OFWs register for elections

By Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 19 2014 04:19 AM | Updated as of Jun 19 2014 12:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The high number of Filipinos abroad applying for voter's registration could be attributed to heightened interest in the presidential polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said it has been proven that voter’s turnout during presidential elections is higher compared to other regular elections, so many eligible voters register. The trend is the same among overseas absentee voters (OAV).

Last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that new registrants overseas have reached more than 18,000 during the first month of the 17-month voter’s registration period.

The DFA said the figure is more than double the number of registrants during the same period for the 2013 midterm polls. It is also more than 600 percent higher than the past three registration periods.

Jimenez said the high turnout of OAV registrants is also a product of the heightened information and education campaign being undertaken by the government among Filipinos abroad.

“(It’s because of the) increased efforts on the part of Comelec and DFA under the leadership of DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis. All posts were given quotas to meet,” he said.

Jimenez added that Philippine posts abroad were allowed to do field registration to reach out to Filipinos who cannot go to embassies or consulate offices to register.

He also noted that the provisions in Republic Act 10590 or the Overseas Voting Act of 2013 has also allowed overseas Filipinos to have better access to registration centers.

Under Section 5 of RA 10590, registration as an overseas voter can be done in person “at any post abroad or at designated registration centers outside the post” or in the Philippines.

In Republic Act 9189 or the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, however, registration can be done in the Philippines or at Philippine posts abroad “that have jurisdiction over the locality where they temporarily reside.”