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Preparations underway in Vancouver for PH polls

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Mar 05 2022 09:03 AM

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Just a little over two months to go before the May 9 Philippine presidential elections and the Vancouver Consulate General’s office is making sure everything is ready for the polls.

Consul General Maria Andrelita Austria said they hope to receive the ballots from Philippine Commission on Elections by mid-March, while counting machines are expected to arrive by April 4.

They hope to start mailing out the ballots by the first week of April as the Comelec has de-listed some 600,000 previously registered voters worldwide.

Austria asked voters to check if their names are on the certified list of voters.

"Kung hindi po kayo nakaboto in 2016 and 2019, malamang po natanggal kayo sa listahan ng Comelec so ang pinakamaganda po, i-check niyo na po ngayon kung nandoon kayo sa Certified List of Overseas Voters para kapag nandoon po, maabangan niyo na yung balota nyo," Austria said.

(If you have not voted in 2016 and 2019, you may have been taken out of the list by the Comelec so it's best to check if your name is in the Certified List of Overseas Voters so you’ll know if you can start waiting for your ballot.)

Austria added that voters should also check to see that the list shows their correct address. If they changed addresses, Austria said they can send an email to the consulate so this can be quickly forwarded to Comelec. Ballots can also be picked up from the consulate's office.

"Kung sa tingin mo, from the time na nagregister ka sa ngayon lumipat ka, puwede mong sabihin sa amin na wag na naming i-mail yung ballot mo, pipick-up-in mo na lang, puwede rin yon, but we have to know before March 31," Austria noted.

(If you have moved to a new place after you have registered, please let us know if you don’t want us to mail you your ballot and that you’ll pick it up from the consulate instead. But you have to advise us before March 31.)

Austria also clarified that Filipinos who registered but who took their oaths as Canadian citizens before the May 9 elections are no longer entitled to vote. She urged those new Canadians to just return their ballots to the consulate.

"Under Philippine law, mga Pilipino lang po ang puwedeng bumoto so pag hindi na po tayo Pilipino, hanggang hindi pa po tayo nag-a-acquire, wala po muna tayong privilege to participate in the election."

(Under Philippine law, only Filipinos can vote, so if you're no longer a Filipino, until you have acquired citizenship, you don't have the privilege to participate in the election.)

Overseas voting will start on April 10 and completed ballots received by the consulate's office will be counted twice each week until election day. Voting will end by 7pm of May 9, Manila time.

"Nagsasara po ang polls, ang botohan kasabay ng pagsasara ng Manila, which is dito po, pag kinonvert natin sa oras natin, May 9 at 4am. So hanggang ganong time lang tayo puwedeng tumanggap ng balota," Austria pointed out.

(The polls here will close at the same time as the close in Manila, which in Vancouver is May 9 at 4am. So we can only accept ballots up to that time.)

The results of the canvass will be hand-delivered by the election chairs from the consulates of Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver to the embassy in Ottawa.

Filipino Canadians can call the Vancouver Consulate General's office through its hotline or send an email to overseasvoting@vancouverpcg.org for any questions on overseas voting.

More than 89,000 Filipinos in Canada have registered to vote in the May 9, 2022 presidential polls.