As Overseas Absentee Voter registration closes on October 14 in all Philippine embassies and consulates all over the world, the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco considers themselves one of the busiest as well, with thousands of new and returning voters making sure their votes will count in the May 2022 Philippine elections.
Consul General Neil Ferrer shared that since they have been open daily since January and even extending to Saturdays, the consulate has seen the expected uptick in registrants given the upcoming poll will be a presidential election.
"Last Saturday, we had over 170 people coming over to register. So we're very happy with the turnout of our recovery and for this voting registration," Ferrer said.
Ferrer admits that the pandemic did affect the numbers early on, but as Covid-19 cases went down and vaccinations were moving swiftly, more and more Filipinos trooped to the consulate to make sure they will be able to vote.
"Obviously challenge talaga. People were still afraid, because of the safety issue, the pandemic and that's very understandable (Obviously, it was a challenge)," the consul general acknowledged. "But what we have seen recently, with the good rollout of the vaccine, people are really getting more comfortable going out. And of course, in the Bay Area and in California in general, we have very high vaccination rates so na-overcome na ang fear and anxiety ng ating kababayan so that's why we have seen a growing number of registration. Since around July up to the present, and that's very good (In the Bay Area and in California in general, we have very high vaccination rates so the fear and anxiety of our fellow Filipinos were overcome)."
Ferrer added that the consulate's outreach missions in other states also helped a lot, as many Pinoys in states like Alaska, Utah, Colorado, Washington, Montana, and Oregon made an effort to register as well. Ferrer said they were able to register thousands of overseas voters in the outreach services.
Those who want to register are reminded to bring the necessary documents:
- accomplished and signed application form
- valid Philippine Passport
- for those who don't have valid passport: NSO birth certificate and a valid Green Card
- for Seafarers: photocopy of Seaman's Book or any other document to prove that you're a seafarer (in addition to application form and Philippine passport)
- for Dual Citizens: Dual Citizenship certificate (original and photocopy) (in addition to application form and Philippine passport)
The consulate also said that for those who are coming to renew their Philippine passports or swear in for their dual citizenships, they can process their OAV registration on the spot.
Ferrer likewise noted that they will still take walk-ins, as he appealed to other Filipinos in the Bay Area to take advantage of the last day of registration on October 14. Even if registrants find themselves still in line outside the building by 5pm, the consulate commits to servicing each and every kababayan.