|A Filipino absentee voter in Belgium cast his vote for the Philippine presidential elections/Raquel Bernal-Crisostomo, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
BRUSSELS, Belgium - As the much-awaited Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) kicked off in Brussels last Saturday, many consider the list of candidates too long.
Thelma Nullar, the 9th voter, admitted having a difficult time casting her votes due to numerous unknown personalities included in the long list of official candidates.
“Nahirapan po ako sa pagboto mostly po yung ibang kandidato, hindi ko po kilala dahil matagal na po akong di umuwi sa Pilipinas tapos wala naman po akong TFC (The Filipino Channel). So yung mga binoto ko pong kandidato, nakita ko lang po sa internet. Doon ko lang po tiningnan yung mga propaganda nila at yung mga plano nila sa ating bansang Pilipinas,” said Nullar.
Several weeks before the start of the OAV, the Philippine embassy disseminated to the Filipino community information from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), but for some who refused to be identified, it was not enough to know the background and the agenda of each candidate.
“Yung mga kandidato lang na napapanuod namin sa TFC at nababasa sa internet ang kilala namin. Pero yung mga hindi sikat, wala talaga kaming makuhang impormasyon tungkol sa plano nila para sa bansa sakali mang mahalal sila”, they said.
Many said they only consider the popular candidates since they have already the “proven track record”. And these candidates are the ones they see on TFC -- the reelectionists, movie personalities and those who are being endorsed by known celebrities.
Despite the minor complaints from the voters, the Philippine embassy is confident that turnout of voters this year will be bigger compared to last elections.
“Ang feeling naman namin, the turnout for OAV is bigger than before especially nasanay na rin ang mga tao ngayon na this is the 3rd time na we’re having this procedure. Everyone is excited to vote especially for president and vice president,” Consul Christina Rola said.
Just the same, they appealed to their fellow Filipinos to take part in a month long absentee voting which they said, could be vital for the country’s fate in the next 6 years.
“Isang opportunity ito para sa atin na ma-excercise natin ang right to vote, pumili ng bagong leadership sa ating bansa, bagong president. Kaya inaanyayahan namin kayo na bumisita dito sa embahada mula alas-9 ng umaga hanggang alas-5 ng hapon,” Consul General Marichu Mauro said.