Filcom groups in London set for OAV

By Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe New Bureau

Posted at Apr 09 2010 10:55 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2010 05:38 PM

Filcom groups in London set for OAV 1

A Filipino community group discusses their plan of action at the start of OAV/Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

LONDON - Two days before the start of the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV), Filipino community groups in London are on their last ditch effort to help the Philippine Embassy in the United Kingdom spread the word that over 300 undelivered ballots are waiting to be claimed at the embassy.

To help in the information campaign drive, the Filipino community in Plaistow decided to print the list of undelivered postal ballots, which is posted on the embassy website. (

“Yung iba kasi nag-change ng address at hindi naman sila nag-advise sa embassy. So what can we do now? May mga nakikilala kami dito (sa list) so maybe we can ask them to collect it from the embassy. Kasi ang dami, 343 ang masasayang,” said Ana Maravilla.

“Pinapaliwanag namin na dito sa London hindi ka na pipila kasi maybe they haven’t got the time dahil sa trabaho. Pero ang Pilipino they don’t realize that it’s only postal voting,” said Nelson Ramos.
Minister and Consul General Tess Dizon-De Vega made an earlier appeal on TFC’s Balitang Europe to Filipinos in the United Kingdom to personally collect the undelivered ballots at the embassy and bring a proof of identification such as a valid passport.

Filcom groups in London set for OAV 2
Ana Maravilla shows the printed list of absentee voters whose postal ballots are for collection at the embassy/Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

“Kung maari lang po tingnan nila ang website ng embahada dahil nandun po ang listahan ng mga pangalan ng may ari ng ballot envelopes na pinadala ng COMELEC sa embahada,” said Dizon-De Vega.

She also reminded the voters to send their ballots to the embassy once completed.

“Maaari na po nilang ipadala sa embahada ang accomplished ballots starting April 10. Maaari din po nilang i-drop o dalhin ang kanilang accomplished ballot envelopes sa embahada. Umpisa rin po tayong tatanggap ika-diyes ng Abril,” she added.  

The Filcom group in Plaistow also appealed to other groups to consider sending a representative during the counting at the embassy on May 10.

“We request them to be present especially in the counting. Hindi naman ibig sabihin may nangdadaya but then feel free tayong mag-isip na okay ang resulta kasi we were there,” said Maravilla.

New Media and Philippine elections

With Facebook, Twitter and other new media, the face of political campaigns has changed forever.

A political advocacy group in London, headed by Mark Wolfisz, an Economics student from Queen Mary, University of London, is also banking on the power of the new media to help raise the level of political consciousness and political participation of overseas Filipinos. It launched the group’s website last month.

With over 10 million Filipinos living and working abroad and many of them relying on the new media for news, entertainment and also for mundane communication, the group is hoping that the website will appeal to OFWs especially during the election period. It aims, among others, to help OFWs make an informed decision when they cast their votes.

Filcom groups in London set for OAV 3
Mark Wolfisz and his team set up a website to help OFWs choose the right candidate to vote for/Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

“It’s a website targeting the overseas Filipinos, encouraging them to be politically empowered. Gusto rin naming alamin kung bakit sila hindi bumoboto. Pangalawang parte ng ay para kilalanin ang mga kandidatong iboboto,” said Mark Wolfisz.

He also said that since the launch, the website has been visited by Filipinos from over 20 countries, some have written to them to express their support which motivated the team to work harder. With positive feedback from OFWs, they want to make sure the website offers something new.

“May comparative analysis kaming ilalabas sa mga darating na linggo kung saan ikukumpara ang mga polisya ng iba’t-ibang kandidato, iba’t-ibang party list at mga senador tungkol sa mga issue sa Pilipinas,” Wolfisz added.