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PH Consulate General in NY hopes all ballots mailed out by end of week

Don Tagala | TFC News New York

Posted at Apr 12 2022 02:20 PM | Updated as of Apr 13 2022 08:57 AM

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A day after the official start of overseas voting for the 2022 Philippine polls, 24 boxes of ballots, vote counting machines, and other election paraphernalia finally arrived at the Philippine Consulate General in New York.

For Philippine Consul General Elmer Cato, registered voters can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Commission on Elections commissioner Marlon Casquejo blamed suppliers for the delay in the shipment of the poll materials.  

"Even the envelopes even the simple paper seal, delayed din po sila. At ang ating mga suppliers, marami na po kaming nabigyan ng penalty... Kahit gaano pa kami kaaga - kahit during pandemic nagkaroon na po kami ng preparation - kaya lang po delayed talaga ang aming suppliers," Casquejo said.

(Even the envelopes, even the simple paper seal are delayed. We have given penalty to many of our suppliers... No matter how early we prepared - we already had preparations during the pandemic - our suppliers were delayed.)

Filipino activist groups met with the consul general to raise their concerns about the delayed ballots.

"Many have not received their ballot yet... People are upset that it's already April 11. We are not yet able to vote so we brought this letter, this petition, to the consul general," Bernadette Patino of Malaya Movement noted. "We're very much appreciative that he made time to speak with us about these concerns as we raise from the community. However, we came looking for answers and I feel like we left empty handed."

Meanwhile, Mike Legaspi of Bayan USA said they did not only seek explanation for the delay, but also what the next steps would be.

"Okay fine, huwag na tayong magsisihan, but at least give the next steps," Legaspi said.

(Okay fine, let's not point fingers, but at least give the next steps.)

The consul general assured Filipinos that consular staff will be working overtime to get all the ballots mailed out by the end of the week. Cato added that mailed-out ballots include a return postage but voters can opt for expedited delivery or personally drop them off over to the consulate ballot receptacles.

[The community needs] to know that it is important for them to send it back, the ballots, as soon as they receive it," Cato stressed.

Filled out ballots should be received at the consulate on or before May 9th, 7am EST or May 9th, 7pm Philippine time. Late ballots will not be counted.