With more than 50 days left before voter registration for Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) ends, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has issued a last-minute call to overseas Filipinos to register for the May 2013 senatorial and party-list polls.
“We are encouraging all the overseas workers to register. We have a deadline and that is on October 31,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes III said in an interview.
He said overseas Filipino voters should go out and register as this will not be extended.
“No extension. Once we extend everybody will ask for an extension,” said Brillantes.
Comelec Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, meantime, remains confident that they would be able to meet their one million target for OAV given the number of overseas Filipinos who register daily.
“Yes, we will (meet the target). Every day we are able to register 1,000 to 2,000. I hope this will continue,” he said.
“With the help of the non-government organizations (NGOs) I think we will reach our goal,” added Tagle.
The chairman of the Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV) said as of September 7, 2012, the number of new registrants for OAV is already at 242,767 bringing the total number of overseas Filipino registrants to 832,597.
This includes the 589, 830 old registrants in the 2010 national and local elections.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Jose Brillantes said the nearly 250,000 new registrants has surpassed the 2010 figure.
“Compared to the year 2010 where it was a presidential election, and therefore traditionally there would be more who would register during presidential elections for Overseas Absentee Voting. But this year, we have already surpassed the 2010 figure, which means the Comelec and DFA are probably doing something right in the sense that we have gathered more positive reaction on the part of our overseas Filipino workers to respond to the call to register and vote for the incoming 2013 senatorial elections,” he said.
According to the Comelec there are 115,000 new registrants for OAV in 2010.
The COAV has stepped up its information campaign to per¬suade the prospective registrants to process their application and to vote.
COAV placed additional Voter Registration Machine (VRMs) used for biometric capturing in the registration posts located in the offices of the Philippine Overseas Employment Ad¬ministration (POEA) in Manila, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals 1 and 2 to avoid the long lines of OFWs who wish to register.
The OAV registration period opened last November 2.