Registration of Filipino overseas voters rises by 50% in August

Registration of Filipino overseas voters rises by 50% in August
Updated 13 September 2014

Registration of Filipino overseas voters rises by 50% in August

Registration of Filipino overseas voters rises by 50% in August

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the Kingdom have welcomed the more than 50 percent rise in August, in comparison to July, of voters registering for their homeland's 2016 presidential election.
“This means that OFWs in general want to get more involved in choosing a president who would take over from President Aquino,” said Benny M. Quiambao, a Filipino community leader, on Thursday.
The report released by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) on Sept. 5, stated that voter registration increased from 24,366 in July to 37,479 in August.
It's also the highest rate of increase since overseas registration for the 2016 presidential elections started in May this year. This sets a new milestone for this period by bringing the four-month total of new overseas voter registrants to 101,351. In June, for the first time in its 11-year history, overseas voting registrations breached the one million mark.
“At the current pace of registration, we could have an overseas voter stock of over two million for the 2016 presidential elections,” said Office of Civil Security and Consular Concerns Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis, who chairs the DFA-OVS.
Attaining this goal, said Seguis who was formerly the Philippine ambassador to Saudi Arabia, can be a game-changer.
Resurreccion O. Ramos, a doctor at the Dammam Medical Complex, said overseas Filipinos are probably more vigilant than before because of the alleged irregularities committed by presidential aspirants.
“Whoever wins in the presidential polls in 2016 will unavoidably affect overseas Filipinos since they have families and relatives to whom they extend financial assistance monthly,” he said.
In Jeddah, Charles Tabbu, IT manager at Saudi Arabian Marketing Agencies & Company Ltd., added that OFWs “want to have a louder voice in choosing a Philippine president.”
“From the Kingdom, they have seen many changes in the country under the current administration and they want to make a difference as far as the country is concerned,” said Tabbu, who received his computer engineering degree from the Central Colleges of the Philippines.
The OFWs also expressed satisfaction over the report that the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh topped the foreign service posts (FSP) for the number of new registrants, which totaled 7,916.
The other top FSPs include Abu Dhabi at 3,420, Dubai 2,805, Jeddah 2,332, San Francisco 1,655, Singapore 1,193, New York 1,076, Los Angeles 1,034, London 887, and Toronto 813.
Almost 54 percent of last month's increase came from FSPs in the Middle East. This enhanced performance has been attributed to the Department of Foreign Affairs' issuance of Foreign Service Circular No. 160-2014, which integrates voter registration with the passport renewal process.
“The preparations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Commission on Elections led to the successful start of the registration process,” Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a letter.
The report added that the DFA continues to perform well despite the suspension of overseas voter registration in various hotspots including Libya, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and Gaza.