Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez during the launch of the group's "Migrant Watch" hotline/Photo courtesy of Migrante international
MANILA, Philippines – An alliance of Filipino migrants on Friday has set up an electoral watch hotline where OFWs around the world can report cases of disenfranchisement and irregularities in the conduct of the overseas absentee voting (OAV).
Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International said the hotline number of Migrante Watch is 09226824187.
Martinez said they will pay close attention to vote-rich Hong Kong and Singapore where the automated election system (AES) will be conducted.
“Our kababayans in these countries will be the ‘guinea pigs’ of the AES—voting here will show whether the Commission on Elections is indeed capable of holding orderly and credible automated elections, considering its already grave lapses. It may be a potent of things to come on May 10,” Martinez said.
Martinez said reassigned precincts caused confusion among registered voters in Hong Kong, 4 days before the start of the OAV. According to him, the voters also complained of lack of voter’s education as well as insufficient number of Precinct Optical Scan Machines deployed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The group also called on OFWs to vote for those who have a track record in upholding migrant rights and welfare and frustrate the bids of those alleged Arroyo-backed partylists that claim to represent migrant workers
“Our OFWs deserve no less than leaders who are brave enough to question how the Arroyo government’s failure at domestic job creation and aggressive labor export program has wrenched Filipinos away from their families and forced them into slave-like and abusive work conditions abroad,” Martinez said.