JOSEPH HOLANDES UBALDE, GMANews.TV
05/27/2009 | 05:42 PM
MANILA, Philippines – With only three months left before the overseas absentee voting (OAV) registration comes to a close, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has barely made a dent to meet its 1 million target.
As of May 27, only 85,784 overseas Filipinos registered to vote for the 2010 elections since registration opened last February, data e-mailed by the DFA’s OAV Secretariat to GMANews.TV showed.
With the OAV registration’s Aug. 31 deadline looming, the DFA needs at least 914,216 more registrants in the next three months to meet its target. To reach the million mark, the government needs at least 166,666 registrants every month until the OAV registration ends.
But even if the DFA meets the target, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may still trim down the number of voters after a rigorous screening process. Just recently, the Comelec approved less than half of one percent of the targeted 1 million OAVs for the 2010 election. [See: Comelec approves only 4,751 of 1M targeted absentee voters]
Hong Kong still has the largest turnout of OAV registrants with 8,623 or an additional 2, 870 voters from last month’s 5,753. The Chinese province is home to more than 130,000 Filipinos, most of them working as domestic workers with two-year contracts.
Hong Kong is followed by Los Angeles (5,576), Dubai (4,245), Singapore (3, 807), London (3, 637), Toronto (2,951), New York (2, 638), Riyadh (2, 419), Washington (2, 253) and Brunei (2, 085).
With the deadline closing in, Ambassador Nestor Padalhin of the OAV Secretariat is intensifying the information drive to invite more Filipinos overseas to register.
Padalhin is tapping on radio and TV shows to promote OAV registration among migrants.
Earlier, Padalhin blamed the Filipinos’ infamous “hasta mañana” habit for the dismal number of registrants. [See: Pinoys’ ‘mañana’ habit blamed for poor OAV registration turnout]
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, head of the DFA’s Special and Ocean Concerns, said he was hopeful that the figures would improve in the coming months as the Philippine government would heighten its campaign for the overseas voting.
“These figures will increase tremendously as the OAV registration activities in all Philippine Foreign Service Posts [FSPs] intensify in the coming days, weeks and months,” he said.
There are 8.7 million overseas Filipinos, according to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, including 4.1 million contractual workers and about 900,000 undocumented migrants. – GMANews.TV