OAV Registration (May 6, 2014 – Oct. 31, 2015)

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"IT IS ONLY WHEN YOU EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE THAT YOU CAN ALSO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO CHANGE"

“IT IS ONLY WHEN YOU EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE THAT YOU CAN ALSO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO CHANGE” (Registration starts  May 6, 2014 to October 31, 2015)

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2013 Philippine Election Party List Winners

partylist winners

http://www.rappler.com

Fourteen out of 58 party-list seats up for grabs in the recently concluded midterm polls have been awarded on Friday, 24 May 2013 by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“The Comelec, sitting as NBOC, resolves to partially proclaim the 14 party-list groups as initial winners in the party-list elections of May 13, 2013, entitled to one guaranteed seat,” according to the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) Resolution 0006-13.

Entitled to a seat in the House of Representatives are:

 Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay)

Mariano Michael Velarde, Jr. (incumbent) / Lito Atienza / William Irwin Tieng (incumbent)

Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms (A Teacher)

Mariano Piamonte, Jr. (incumbent) / Julieta Cortuna (incumbent) / Nenita Habulan

 Bayan Muna

Neri Colmenares (incumbent) / Carlos Isagani Zarate / Hope Hervilla

1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc. (1-Care)

Edgardo Masongsong / Michael Angelo Rivera (incumbent) / Concordio Quisaot

 Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party (Akbayan)

Walden Bello /  Barry Gutierrez

Ako Bicol Political Party (AKB)

Christopher Co / Rodel Batocabe / Alfredo Garbin

Abono Party-list (Abono)

Conrado Estrella III / Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III (incumbent) / Erika Caitlin Dy

OFW Family Club (OFW Family)

Roy Señeres, Sr. / Juan Johnny Revilla / Roy Señeres, Jr.

Gabriela Women’s Party (Gabriela)

Luzviminda Ilagan (incumbent) / Emerenciana de Jesus (incumbent) / Lucia Francisco

Cooperative Natcco Network Party (Coop Natcco)

Cresence Paez (incumbent) / Anthony Bravo / Herminio Hernandez

Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (AGAP)

Nicanor Briones (incumbent) / Rico Geron / Arnel Marasigan

 Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (Cibac)

Luis Lokin, Jr. / Bibiano Rivera, Jr. / Antonio Manahan, Jr.

 Magdalo Para sa Pilipino (Magdalo)

Gary Alejano / Francisco Ashley Acedillo / Manuel Cabochan

An Waray

Neil Benedict Montejo / Jude Acidre / Victoria Isabel Noel

How to fill the 58 party-list seats >>>>> CLICK folder  PHILIPPINES

OAV 2013: The day I cast my vote

 

May 10, 2013 (Friday)  The Day I cast my Vote

 

 at Philippine Embassy-Riyadh

OFW Family Party List letter to PNoy

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OFW FamilyOFW Family Party List  (Memo to President BSN III)

Heartfelt congratulations on your selection by Time Magazine as the 2nd most influential person in the world in 2012 in a list of 100. You do me and my family so proud as Filipinos.

Mr. President I wish that you can directly act on the problems of the 3000 stranded OFWs including children in KSA now staying in make-shift tents in virtually boiling temperatures.

Ambassador Ezziden Tago and his staff are among the best of our foreign service officers but their present staff just could not cope with the magnitude of the problem.

The law (Sec. 27, RA 8042) says that the “highest priority concern” of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassadors is the protection and welfare of Filipinos overseas. I don’t see this to be the case right now insofar as the 3000 distressed OFWs are concerned. Mr. President may i recommend the following:

1. Invite the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Palace and request him to make representations with King Abdullah to allow the stranded OFWs to stay in their air-conditioned sports stadium;

2. Instruct our Ambassadors in the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Iran, to proceed to KSA immediately to assist Ambassador Tago;

3. Release a substantial amount from your calamity fund to defray the cost of the repatriation of the stranded OFWs; Needless to say, this is a calamity;

4. Request fellow ASEAN countries to urge their flag carriers to provide free air tickets to the stranded Filipinos to Manila and by way of reciprocity, provide the same privilege to fellow ASEAN citizens on Philippine flag carriers who may be encountering the same problems in the KSA;

5. Gather the familes in the regions in the Philippines of the 3000 in KSA and give them appropriate psychological counseling, financial assistance on account of the sudden job dislocations of their breadwinners, and other forms of assistance.

Be on top of the situation Mr. President after all, you are the Commander-in-Chief of the 10 million army of OFWs who are waging the war against poverty in the Philippines albeit in various war zones overseas. Just like any army and just like any kind of war, there are casualties. The 3000 in KSA and their families in the Philippines are casualties Sir. They need to be urgently attended to under your personal orchestration Sir.

Respectfully,

Ambassador Roy

Absentee Overseas Voting Starts in Al-Khobar, Eastern Saudi Arabia

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Overseas absentee voting went on as scheduled on April 13, 2013 in Al Khobar, the Eastern Region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Six voting precincts at the Al-Jazeera International School opened and started accepting voters at 8:00 in the morning.

Al Khobar  OAV

Al Khobar
OAV

Voting shall go on for one month until 13 May 2013.

There are more than 24,000 overseas Filipinos who registered earlier in the region. The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO-ERO) in Al-Khobar shall be notifying establishments, companies and corporations employing Filipinos about the significance of the national elections.

Overseeing the orderly and peaceful conduct of elections are the men and women duly deputized by the Commission on Elections. They compose the Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEIs) and Special Ballot Reception and Custody Group (SBRCG) who will be on duty full time during the prescribed voting hours.

In Al-Khobar, the Voting schedule for the month-long elections shall be:

April 13 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Saturdays to Wednesdays 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Thursdays and Fridays 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

May 13 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Counting of ballots shall start immediately after the last vote has been cast and will go on without interruption until all votes have been counted. Right after the counting, the results will be brought to the Philippine Embassy Riyadh for canvassing by the Special Board of Canvassers.

Beating all registered voters to the draw to be the first to cast his vote was Conrado V. Jimenez. “The right to vote is so sacred and precious to me that I do not want to be late. I have to be at the voting precinct before it opens,” quipped Mr. Jimenez.

As has been the trend in the region during the conduct of previous overseas absentee voting, Saturdays to Wednesdays will be lean-turnout days while there is a noticeable upswing in the number of voters during Thursdays and Fridays.

However, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh invites all Filipinos to go out and vote as EARLY as possible. ##

PhilEmb Press Release No. 058-2013 14 April 2013

Automated Overseas Voting in Riyadh Starts Successfully

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The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh today successfully started the first day of automated elections for Overseas Absentee Voters (OAV). A total of 149 Filipinos cast their votes in Riyadh during the first day of elections. The Embassy invites all registered Filipinos to vote as soon as possible and until 13 May 2013.

A total of 149 Filipinos cast their votes during the first day of the automated elections in Riyadh. Engr. Alexander Javier who works as a Business Development Manager for DongHo Korean Saudi Limited Company was the first to cast his vote in Riyadh.

 The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh is one of seven (7) Philippine foreign service posts to adopt the Automated Election System (AES) for the 2013 OAV National Elections. The Philippine Embassy was provided eight (8) Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) Machines. 

Fellow OFW Absentee Voters during the first day of automated elections for OAV 2013

Fellow OFW Absentee Voter during the first day of automated elections for OAV 2013

Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ezzedin H. Tago, also cast his vote during the first day of automated elections. I invite all my kababayans in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to exercise their right to vote and choose the next leaders of our country. Kasali po tayo dito!,” said Ambassador Tago.

 The Embassy invites all registered Overseas Absentee Voters (OAVs) in Riyadh, Central and Northern Regions of Saudi Arabia to cast their votes on the following schedule:

Saturdays through Wednesdays – 9am to 5pm

Thursdays and Fridays – 10am to 6pm

13 May (last day) – 8am to 2pm

Those who will vote are advised to:

 1.Look if their names are included in the Certified List of Overseas Voters (CLOV) for Riyadh posted at the Basketball Court of the Embassy.

The Certified List of Absentee Voters is also available online at: http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org/index.php/overseas-absentee-voting

2.Bring their Philippine Passport (or photocopy). If not available, any Philippine-issued ID card (driver’s license, SSS, Pagibig, Philhealth, PRC, etc.) or iqama showing name and picture.

3.Bring a prepared list or kodigo of preferred candidates for 12 senators and 1 party-list organization to avoid delay in casting votes.

The Embassy also advises Filipinos who will vote of the following:

It is prohibited to take photographs of one’s accomplished ballot;

Proper attire should be observed. Those in short pants, “sando” and similar attire will not be allowed to enter the Embassy’s premises; and, promptly leave the polling area after voting to provide space to others.

**PhilEmb Press Release No. 057-2013 / 13 April 2013

 

Philippine missions set for elections

Philippine diplomatic missions are preparing for their country’s midterm elections due on May 13.

However, overseas polling will take place a month in advance. It will begin in the Kingdom on April 13 and end on May 13. Saudi Arabia hosts the largest number of overseas Filipino voters. The voters are eligible to vote for a presidential candidate, vice president, 12 senators and one party-list organization.

Registered Overseas Absentee Voters are urged to watch AVPCOS Machine Demonstration for May 2013 Election. Just click this image to watch the video. Thanks.

Registered Overseas Absentee Voters are urged to watch AVPCOS Machine Demonstration on how to VOTE  for April 13 to May 13, 2013 Election. Just click this image to watch the video. Thanks!

The autonomous election commission (Comelec) has decided to use state-of-the-art voting machines for the first time at seven overseas stations, including Riyadh and Jeddah. Called precinct count optical scan machines, they will be installed in the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Jeddah Consulate next week.

“A special team from Manila will train embassy and consular employees to operate and handle the automated voting machines,” said Red Genotiva, vice consul at the Philippine Embassy. “The diplomatic missions in the Kingdom are getting ready for the polling process,” he told Arab News.

The number of registered voters in the Kingdom is fewer compared to the total number of Filipinos here. Even among the registered voters, only a small percentage turned up to cast their votes in the last two elections.

JEDDAH: IRFAN MOHAMMED (Tuesday 2 April 2013 Arab News)

Important update: 

To all  OFWs who are Registered voters or Overseas Absentee Voters please be advised that the COMELEC  has reinstated the 238,557  registered overseas Filipinos who failed to vote in the last past two election.  It  means that you are  in the list of  Absentee Voters that are qualified to cast votes in the April 13 to May 13, 2013 Philippine Midtern Election.

Please  GO OUT and VOTE!  Ang BOTO Pahalagahan MOHuwag Sayangin ang BOTO! Ipaabot ang nagkakaisang tinig ng  OFWs, GAMITIN ang KARAPATANG MARINIG!

Be reminded that  “people who don’t vote have no line of credit with people who are elected and thus pose no threat to those who act against our interests.”  (Marian Wright Edelman-Rights Activist)

IF YOU ARE NOT A “VOTER” YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO CRITICIZE POLITICIANS. – BongA

Advisory: OAVs Who Failed to Vote Twice

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The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh informs all concerned Overseas Absentee Voters (OAVoters) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the deadline for filing of manifestations of intent to vote by OAVoters who failed to vote twice in 2007 and 2010 has been extended to 11 January 2013.

"It is only when you exercise your right to choose that you can also exercise your right to change”

“It is only when you exercise your right to choose that you can also exercise your right to change”

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh received instructions from the Commission on Elections, through the Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat (DFA-OAVS), of the promulgation by Comelec on 14 December 2012 of Resolution No. 9578 which extends the deadline for filing of manifestations of intent to vote by OAVoters who failed to vote twice to 11 January 2013.

Comelec Resolution No. 9578 extends the deadline set for filing said manifestations under Resolution No. 9567.

Under Comelec’s resolutions, Overseas Absentee Voters (OAVoters) who failed to vote twice during the National Elections in 2007 and 2010 will be deleted from the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters (NROAV) unless they submit a manifestation of their intent to vote by 11 January 2013.

Only registered OAVoters whose names appear in the NROAV will be allowed to vote in the 2013 Nationals Elections.

Procedures:

Check if your name is included in the list of OAVs who failed to vote twice. To access the list, copy and paste any of the below links to your web browser’s URL address tab:

From Comelec’s website at:

http://www.comelec.gov.ph/oav/uploads/pdf/oav_lists/FailedToVoteTwice.pdf

From DFA-OAVS at http://dfa-oavs.gov.ph/images/pdf/failedtovote.pdf

If your name is in the list and you intend to vote in 2013 at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate where you are registered as OAV, submit a manifestation of intent to vote through the following options:

Option 1: Submit the manifestation of intent to vote to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh.

Option 2: Submit the manifestation of intent to vote directly to COAV online at www.comelec.gov.ph/coav or through fax at fax number (+632) 521 2952.

Option 3: Submit the manifestation of intent to vote directly with the Commission on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV) at COMELEC in Intramuros, Manila

Deadline of submission of manifestations of intent to vote is on 11 January 2013. END

 

Embassy Reminds Filipinos To Register As Overseas Absentee Voters

Press Release No. 77-2012 / 15 May 2012

Embassy Reminds Filipinos To Register As Overseas Absentee Voters

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh reiterates its invitation to all Filipinos in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to register as Overseas Absentee Voters (OAV). The National Elections for Senators and party-list representatives shall be on 13 May 2013 - exactly a year from today.

If you are any of the following, you are required to register as an Overseas Absentee Voter: Continue reading

The insignificant impact of “OFW Zero Remittance Day”

The call for Zero Remittance Day on December 18, International Migrants’ Day has no substantial positive impact at all on the outcome of remittances from Filipinos overseas. The fact that the plan is only for just a day, it is likewise has no adverse impact on social needs of OFW families during Holiday season.    

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Carlos Cao said total remittances by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are likely to exceed P20.1-billion target for 2011.” Even a point margin for tomorrow’s call for zero remittance could not affect the forecasted 2011 total OFW remittances. Last year’s 2010 remittances of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs’) was P18.8 billion.

Let’s say, tomorrow’s action initiated by overseas Filipinos in 20 countries (as what they say) would push through, I am not inclined to believe that these OFWs represents the Overseas Filipinos Worldwide, and not all OFWs in Saudi Arabia will heed for the call for a “Zero Remittance”. Why? Because 50 percent of the hard earned money of OFW’s can be sent to improper channels, if we really want.  Christmas is about giving and OFWs like me wants our families to be happy in this very important holiday season. We don’t want our families to troop down to malls on an eleventh hour shopping spree. And besides, kaming naiwan sa Saudi Arabia ay masaya pag ang aming pamilya ay masaya tuwing kapaskohan even without our presence.”

What we need in our midst is “political empowerment” and it can easily achieve if there will be a unified and concerted effort among our ranks.

“Iisang boses, nagdadamayan, iisang katawan, walang gamitan, walang bangayan, walang AKO kundi TAYO lahat, Muslim at Kristiyano, nag-iisang tinig para sa makabulohang pagbabago tungo sa kagalingan ng Manggawang Pinoy sa ibayong dagat.”   

We fought for the passage of the Absentee Voting Law, it is now in our hands, “Go Out and Register” – Be an Absentee Voter!  (BongA)

New Philippine envoy will meet FilCom leaders quarterly to discuss OFW issues and concerns

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia:  The new Philippine envoy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago reiterated his commitment to meet with Filipino Community leaders  every three months to discuss issues and concerns affecting overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom. He made the statement during the acquaintance meeting with the Filipino Community leaders in Philippine Embassy along with the embassy staff and POLO/OWWA officials last Thursday, 15 of September 2011 at the Philippine Embassy grounds.

It was recalled that Ambassador Tago  just recently presented his credentials to HRH Prince Saud Al Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia.  Tago is now officially and formally designated as Philippine Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen.

In the meeting, Ambassador Tago announced some changes to improve the embassy’s services to its nationals. Working hours from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and no lunch break and Thursday’s is open from 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.

The Consular Section also introduced an appointment system for passport renewal. “With the new appointment system, applicants will be able to request for a specific date and hour during regular working days” he added. The applicants in this new system will no longer have to wait in long lines at window 1 for processing and directly proceed to the encoding area.

Ambassador Tago reminded the community to directly transact business with Philippine embassy staffs and officials and urging Filipinos doing business in the Embassy not to deal with fixers and those individuals claiming as Embassy employees. He also ordered the member of the diplomatic corps to wear the official embassy ID’s all the time.

POLO Labor Attaché Albert Valenciano when asked what are the implementing guidelines of the host country for those workers whose categories belong to Red and Yellow who wishes to transfer to Green and Excellent Zones, “as of this time, the host country and the Ministry of Labor website has yet to announce the specific implementing guidelines for this purpose” he said. Labor Attaché Valenciano advised OFWs to keep visiting the Embassy website for any fresh developments about Nitaqat.

Welfare Officer Atty. Cesar Chavez pointed out that OFWs should not be worried about the new Saudization law, “OFWs are still bound to continue working till the employment contract is finally over” he said.  Even if the worker is belong to Red and Yellow categories, expatriate workers are still oblige to continue working until their contract expires” he further explained. Chavez however, reminded that pre-termination of employment due to Nitaqat should be reported to POLO. Termination due to the implementation of Nitaqat is a violation of Saudi Labor Law. Chavez also said that the new Nationalization law may not affect OFWs presently working in Saudi Arabia but to those future OFWs who wants to work in Saudi Arabia.

Overseas absentee voting registration was among the agenda discussed during the open forum. The Embassy will write a formal letter to the host country asking permission that mobile OAV registration will be conducted in Batha area in Riyadh and Philippine schools in the Kingdom. OAV registration starts October 31, 2011 to October 31, 2012. -end-

New CoM, First Order of Business

First Order of Business

9/12/2011, RIYADH:  Just recently H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago presented his credentials as new Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom to His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia. Upon formally assumed office as the new Chief of Mission (COM) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago’s first order of business is to bring the Embassy closer to its nationals.

The Filipino Community in Riyadh received an invitation coming from POLO Labor Attaché Albert Q. Valenciano, inviting the Filipino Community organizations to participate in a meeting on Thursday, 15 September 2011 at the Embassy Chancery.

H.E. Ezzedin Tago, Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen will  discuss with the Filipino Community leaders the following agendas: New Saudization Policy of the Kingdom, Government Repatriation Program, the Absentee Voting and other relevant concerns.

The Saudi government started yesterday, September 11, 2011 the implementation of the Nitaqat restrictions to those companies who failed to comply with the Saudization targets. The sanction for non-complying companies will be the non-renewal of work permits of foreign workers. However, companies categorized in Red categories may still have time to comply up to December 11, 2011 while those in Yellow categories are given up to March 11, 2012 to improve the compliance.

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah advised OFWs in the Kingdom to check from time to time the Embassy ( http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org ) and  Consulate ( http://www.pcgjeddah.org ) websites respectively,  for new developments.

In an advisory released last month by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stated that the Embassy, through the POLO officers, will provide the necessary assistance to affected OFWs.

Other important matter to discuss is how to improve the present program of the Government in assisting the repatriation of  Filipinos who overstayed in the Kingdom and to make sure that the shelter where our kababayan stay inside the Hajj Terminal are in good condition and comfortable while awaiting for their scheduled repatriation.

It may recalled that the used of Hajj terminal is a special arrangement made by the Philippine Government represented by the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah with Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the approval of the Office of the Emir of Makkah to address the cases of Filipinos staying under the Sitteen Khandara overpass.

Among issues to be discussed are the plight of OFWs in distressed or OFW runaways housed at Filipino Workers Resource Centers and those in the Saudi Welfare Administration facility run by the Saudi government where female expatriates runaways in various nationalities are housed pending the required exit clearance from their sponsors to be deported.

In the upcoming meeting of  the FilCom and Embassy/POLO/Riyadh includes; the continuing Overseas Absentee Voting registration. The one year OAV continuing registration will start from October 31, 2011 to October 31, 2012.

In the last two absentee voting exercises, Filipino community participation were among seen as one of the contributing factors of the low turnout of voters registration and voters turnout during 2007 and 2010 elections. The new Philippine Chief of Mission in Saudi Arabia, H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago will see to it that the Filipino community organizations must be involved this time.

The Philippine Overseas Absentee Voting mechanism was implemented in 2003, 2007 and 2010 Philippine elections to provide an opportunity for Filipinos abroad to exercise their right in electing the President, Vice President, Senators and one Party-list Representative. –end- BongA

The lady with a big SMILE: 2010 AKBAYAN Party list nominee

AKBAYAN Party list nominee

AKBAYAN Party-List Nominee : Ellene Sana – Correcting Injustice, Promoting Human and Migrant Rights Here and Abroad.

Ellene Sana, the curly haired small lady with the big smile is an in and out human rights and migrants’ rights advocate. The current Executive Director of the Center for Migrants’ Advocacy-Philippines (CMA), an independent policy advocacy group working on issues of migrant Filipinos through research, education and direct assistance, Ellene is known for being an authority on migrant-related issues often invited as a resource person in forums, governmental and otherwise, both here and abroad. From providing direct assistance to organizing activities to promote the rights of migrant Filipinos, her name has become synonymous with migrants’ advocacy.

She is also acknowledged as a strong advocate of women ‘s issues. Together with women migrant workers, they seek the comprehensive protection of all women migrants from abuse and violence. A licensed Civil Engineer, she decided to leave her comfort zone and work full time to promote and advance the rights of the deprived and underprivileged, something which is close to her heart, being a political detainee herself in Mindanao in 1991.

Then again, Ellene’s advocacy is not limited to her fellow kababayans but also with other marginalized citizens as well. In 1997, Ellene was a founding member and coordinator of the Philippine Solidarity for East Timor and Indonesia (Phil-Seti), then the most active and relevant solidarity group based here in the Philippines which actively campaigned for the democratization of Indonesia under Suharto, and the independence of East Timor. In 1999, she was a member of an International Election Observer Team which monitored the United Nations-sponsored Referendum of East Timor and currently, an active member of the Free Burma Coalition (FBC).

Ellene takes her international solidarity and human rights work so seriously that she became re-acquainted with incarceration. In 1996, she was detained by the Malaysian authorities together with 48 other foreign advocates when they participated in an Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor held in Kuala Lumpur. She was again detained in 1998 this time in Burma by the ruling Military junta because of her pro-democracy activities in support of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Among the most momentous of Ellene’s crusades was the campaign that cemented the participation of Overseas Filipino Workers in our political process. With the help of the CMA and AKBAYAN, the Overseas Absentee Voting Law was passed in 2004, granting voting rights to overseas Filipinos.

However, not everything about the indefatigable Ellene is work. To many young advocates, Ellene is a sort of a “nanay-nanayan”, a nurturing and “cool “mentor and a good friend. She loves music and in a not so busy day, you’ll find her in the company of friends and colleagues singing and dancing to the beat of good-old reggae music.

With her entry in the 2010 partylist elections as one of AKBAYAN’s nominees, Ellene will surely be a strong voice of Filipino migrants in Congress.

First day of the 2010 OAV in Riyadh

The Official Residence of the Philippine Ambassador in Saudi Arabia (Bulletin Boards “Certified List of Overseas Absentee Voters”)

Today,  April 10, 2010  registered  Filipino absentee voters  comprised of Overseas Filipino Workers and  Migrant  Filipinos around the world will start casting  their votes  to choose new  Philippine national leaders, the President, Vice President and 12 Senators and 1 Party List. There are 93 Philippine embassies and consulates general around the globe that includes four designated centers in Saudi Arabia.

As a responsible citizen of the Republic of the Philippines and an absentee voter, it is my obligation to vote and I see to it that I will cast my vote in the first day of the voting period which ends on 10 of  May 2010.

CLOAV

I and my long time friend and Filipino Community leader Alex Veloso Bello were among the first absentee voters to arrive in the Philippine Embassy.  We noticed  that around 7:30 am  Philippine Embassy staff were busy preparing the elections paraphernalia’s  in the basement  of the Embassy where the voting process will takes place for  3rd Overseas Absentee Voting in Riyadh.  

Basement (The Polling Center)

Bulletin boards where the names are posted can be found at the Basketball Court before you enter the polling areas in the basement.  As usual, there were only handful absentee voters who came early in the first day of voting period.

At exactly 8:00 am, all precincts A to Z were already manned by the members of the Board of Election Inspectors.  We were the ones who were recognized as the first to vote.

We were able to meet the Cultural Officer Attache Rosario Malicse  and   Vice Consul Atty. Rousell Reyes , in charge of the 2010 Overseas Absentee Voting at the Philippine Embassy before leaving the Embassy compound.

Alex Veloso Bello at Precinct “B”

There are 52,887 registered voters in Riyadh, 37,063 in Jeddah, 21,537 in Alkhobar and more than 1,000 in Buraidah. There are four designated voting centers in Saudi Arabia, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Consulate General in Jeddah, the International Philippine School in Alkhobar (IPSA) and the Philippine International School in Buraidah.

The first day of the voting period was peaceful and in order. We are hoping that in the next few days absentee voters will troop down to the 4 designated voting centers to cast their votes.  

The Republic of the Philippines Official Seal at the Main Entrance of the Philippine Embassy

 The Philippine embassy officials are requesting those registered  absentee voters during the last 2003, 2006 and 2009 registration to verify their names first in the Certified List of Overseas Absentee Voters (CLOAV), which can be accessed either on the Commission on Elections website (http://www.comelec.gov.ph) or the embassy site: http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org.   You can also access the CLOAV in this blog by clicking this link OAV Philippine Embassy Advisory.   

Those  names  found in the list are required to present either their valid passport or iqama, or any valid identification documents such as OWWA, SSS, Pag-IBIG identification cards or a driver’s license.

 On the next succeeding days, Saturdays to Wednesdays, voting opens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Riyadh. On Thursdays and Friday, voting is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In Alkhobar, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Saturdays to Wednesdays and Thursdays and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Alkhobar and Buraidah.

In Jeddah, voting is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all days.

On the last day, May 10, voting starts at 8 a.m. in Riyadh, Alkhobar and Buraidah, and 10 a.m. in Jeddah. Voting stops at all centers in the Kingdom at 1 p.m., which coincides with the 6 p.m. end of voting time in the Philippines. – end -

My choice is not your choice

Tomorrow, April 10, 2010 is the first day of Overseas Absentee Voting that will end on May 10, 2010. 

Below are my  choices  whom I feel worthy of my vote.

President: Noynoy Aquino

Vice President: Manuel Roxas

Senators:

1)      Toots Ople

2)      Bebot Bello

3)      Martin Bautista

4)      Ruffy Biazon

5)      Alex Lacson

6)      Lim

7)      Sonia Roco

8)      Liza Hontiveros Baraquel

9)      Enrile

10)   Adel Tamano

11)   Franklin Drilon

12)   Jinggoy Estrada

My Choice

Your choice is not my choice, no one could dictate you to whom you will vote. Just do the right thing according  to what your heart says.  Voting  is sacred, voting is the essential elements of freedom, it is a duty,  and therefore  don’t waste your  right to be heard;  that’s what democracy is all about. – Bong Amora

April 10 to May 10 : Boto Mo Pahalagahan Mo

On April 10, 2010, registered Filipino Absentee voters will head to the polls to vote.  It is a month period from April 10 to May 10, 2010. 

 “Ang tagumpay ng Overseas Absentee Voting ay nakasalalay sa pakikilahok ng bawat isa sa atin.  Let us troop down to the polling station/precinct or to the designated areas abroad where you can make use the power of the overseas vote. 

Ang Boto mo, Pahalagahan mo!

Voting is one of the most important rights and responsibilities we have as  Filipino.  Let us exercise this right of suffrage that we owe to our beloved motherland. Our participation is indeed an important part of  the Philippine electoral process.

Huwag po nating hayaan na bawiin sa atin ang ipinagkaloob na karapatang ipinaglaban natin ng mahigit labing-anim na taon.   

WE  urge our fellow absentee voters  to do your part,  Ipaabot ang nagkakaisang tinig! Gamitin ang karapatang marinig!  Ang Boto mo, Pahalagahan mo!  

GO OUT and VOTE  this coming April 10 to May 10, 2010.     

Susan “Toots” Ople inindorso ng PPP pagka Senador

Susan “Toots” Ople  inindorso ng PPP pagka Senador

Susan "Toots" Ople (click photo of Toots my choice for Senator )

March  5, 2010 Riyadh – Idinaos ang pangalawang pagtitipon o “2nd Tripartite Meeting” noong Biyernes ika-5 ng Marso ng mga community leaders na nagmula pa sa iba’t-ibang bahagi ng kaharian. Mainit ang pagtanggap ng Central Region na siyang tagapamahala sa mga delegates (delegado) na galing sa Eastern Region at buong pwersa na nagpakita ng kanilang supporta ang Western Region na bumiyahe pa ng mahigit sampung oras, kasama ang ilang mga kabataan na nakilahok sa naturang pagtitipon na ang layunin ay ang pagkakaisa at pagtibayin ang samahan para isulong ang mga adhikain at kapakanan ng mga OFWs.

Ang forum ay nag-umpisa pagkatapos ng isang almusal na inihanda ng mga Filipino Community Leaders ng Riyadh sa Al Mutlaq Hotel, eto ay nagbigay din ng pagkakataon para makasalamuha at maipakilala ang bawa’t isa.

Shakehand - 2013 OFW Sector Senator Rudy Dianalan and Upcoming 2010 OFW Mayor of Tubigon, Bohol William R. Jao

Napag-usapan ang pagrehistro ng isang malakas na puwersa, ang partidong pandaigdigang pilipino o PPP na isang partidong politika upang paghandaan at makilahok sa halalan sa hinaharap.

Ang matagal na paghahanda ng PPP mula ng naratipika ang Charter and By-laws nito noong Mayo 2008 sa Makati ay nagkaroon ng liwanag ng maipasa sa pagtitipon na ituloy ang pagparehistro nito bago matapos ang taon 2012.

Inaprobahan rin ng mga miyembro ng partido ang mungkahi ni Alex Veloso Bello, Chairman of the Board ng PPP na pasiglain muli ang membership campaign isang buwan pagkatapos ng halalan o sa darating na June 10, 2010.

(Breakfast prior to the Meeting) L-R Jauhari Usman (PPP-WR), Ding Manlapaz (PPP-CR), Dr. Astillero (PPP-CR), Rudy Estimo (ArabNews), Robert Ramos (PPP-CR) & Bel Hugo (PPP-ER), Rudy Dianalan (PPP-WR), Jun Aguilar (PPP-MLA/HQ) and Boggs Bolor (PPP-CR)

Nabigyan din ng pagkakataon si  Susan “Toots” Ople,  anak ng yumaong nationalist lider Blas F. Ople na isa sa mga kumakandidatong pagka senador sa pamamagitan ng phone-patch at inihayag ang kanyang programa para sa mga OFW na ikinagagalak ng mga nagsidalo.

Pinag-uusapan rin sa pagtitipon ang malawakang paghahanda ng Regional PPP Chapters na kung saan kinasasakopan nito ang probinsya, siyudad, munisipyo at barangay chapters alinsunod sa patakaran ng COMELEC upang mabigyan pansin ang aplikasyon nito.

Jun Aguilar (PPP-Manila/HQ), Alex Veloso Bello & Tony APolto (PPP-CR)

Ayon sa isang panayam kay Mr. Bong Amora, secretariat ng PPP Central Region, “Nagkatipon-tipon ang mga filipino community leaders ng 3 rehiyon ng kaharian upang pag-usapan ang OFW Representation, at magkaroon ng endorsement sa mga kumakandidato sa nalalapit na halalan”.

Ayon kay Engr. Frank Naval “in order for the OFWs to be heard, we are bound to support this endeavor because this is the only way, and this is the only organization that is very vocal as far as representing OFWs in our government”. Si Frank Naval ay kasalukuyang Presidente ng United OFW, isa sa mga organisasyon sa Riyadh na may pinakaraming bilang na mga kasapi.

Ayon naman kay Engr. Faisal Sarque, “humihingi kami ng supporta sa mga OFWs around the world para sa pagkakaisa.”

Meeting Proper

“Kung gusto natin na marinig ang mga hinaing o boses ng mga OFWs, kailangan na pagtuonan pansin ang problema ng hindi pagkakaisa at pagkakaunawaan ng mga lider komunidad hindi lamang sa Saudi Arabia kundi sa buong mundo na may mga Pilipino” dagdag ni Sarque, na kasalukuyang tumakbo ng pagka Bise Alkalde ng Navotas sa darating na halalan.

Sa pagpakilala naman ni Engr. “Jun” Aguilar na galing pa sa Manila para konsultahin ang mga kapartido “in this meeting we will endorse a common candidate in the person of “Toots Ople” for among the candidates she has the only concrete labor agenda for the LABOR sector and the migrant workers including their families and who could carry the legislative agenda in the senate.”

“I believe that we will come-up concrete steps on how to register the party and the timelines required.” Dagdag ni Aguilar na isa ring dating OFW sa Saudi Arabia.

Raul Valenzuela, Ben Manikan, Francis Oca & William R. Jao (PPP-Central Region)

Sa pagtitipon umabot sa mahigit isang oras ang deliberasyon tungkol sa pag indorso sa pinakamataas na puwesto sa gobyerno. Iginiit ng pinagsamang suhestiyon nina Bel Hugo ng PPP-Eastern Region, Faizal Sarque at Frank Naval ng PPP-Central Region  at  Jauhari Usman at Atoy Esguerra ng PPP-Western Region  na hindi pa napapanahon na ang partido mag indorso ng mga tumatakbo sa pagka-pangulo, pangalawang pangulo at mga sampung senador. Sa huli pinagkasundoan ng mga delegado na ipagliban muna ito sa darating na tamang oras at panahon.

Habib Batua (PPP-CR) & Boy Cornejo, Jauhari Usman, Arman Muleem (PPP-WR)

Binigyang diin ng mayoriya ng mga delegado na dapat lamang na si “Toots Ople” ang bibigyan ng suporta ng mga OFWs dahil siya lamang ang karapat-dapat na magdala ng boses ng mga OFWs sa senado.

Kabilang sa mga inindorso ng PPP ang mga sumusunod na mga tumatakbong meyembro at supporters ng partido; Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim (Senator), Engr. William Jao (NP, Mayor, Tubigon, Bohol),    Dr. Rusty Balderian (Congress, 2nd District, Leyte), Andy Rosales (Councilor in Quezon City), Beng Causing (Councilor in Koronadal City), Kit Tejero (Municipal Councilor, Leyte) and 1 GANAP for Party list group (Boggs Bolor, 3rd Nominee).

PPP Founding Members Chris & Marlyn Lavinia of TFC Balitang ME

Napagkasundoan rin ng partido ang paglikom ng sapat na pondo para sa paghahanda ng mga regional or local chapters sa buong Pilipinas para sa pagpa reghistro ng partido bago ang halalan 2013. Umabot sa P570,000.00 ang nakolekta na pondo sa pagtitipon para sa mga unang hakbang na gagawin upang ipagpatuloy ang pagbuo ng isang OFW-led National Political Party.

Group Photo

Ang nasabing pagtitipon ay pinangungunahan ni Engr. Rudy Dianalan bilang moderator, Dr. Lito Astillero, Presiding Officer and Bong Amora bilang Master of Ceremony.***

Who’s running and where?

Whose running  and where? A GMANews.TV interactive Map
GMANews.TV, GMA News Research

In the interest of voters’ information, GMANews.TV and GMA News Research are posting the official list of candidates for the May 10, 2010 elections at the national level (presidential, vice-presidential, senatorial, and party-list); at the congressional district level (Lower House seats), and at the provincial level (gubernatorial, vice-gubernatorial, and provincial board).

Click the Map to appear the GMANews.TV Interactive Map

Moving the mouse over any of the country’s regions will highlight the region and display a text box listing its constituent provinces and some basic figures relevant to the elections.

Clicking any of the highlighted regions will bring voters and users to congressional and provincial candidates in those regions. The start of the campaign period for those positions is on March 26.

The campaign period for national positions — president, vice president, and senators — began on February 9.

The lists posted here are based on the certified lists of candidates available at the website of the Commission on Elections (www.comelec.gov.ph), which we downloaded on February 4 and 9, 2010, and are therefore valid as of those dates.

We will update the lists as candidates withdraw or are replaced by substitutes. Substitutions are allowed in cases of death or disqualification of the certified candidates.

—JV/TJD/HS, GMANews.TV, GMA News Research

There is a mathematical probability of putting one ofw in the senate:

There is a mathematical probability of putting one ofw in the senate:

There are 7 Million ofw’s worldwide, assuming 30% of this will be able to vote, its about 2.1 Million OFW votes. Assuming an average family size of 4 (husband, wife and two children at voting age), its now 8.4 Million votes. I am sure that we can convince our immediate family 100% to vote for a fellow-ofw. Assumig further that each of the 2.1 ofw’s with a chance to vote will target 15 other filipinos from his/her circle of relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces) and circle of friends (barkada, kaklase, kapitbahay, kababata, etc) – this is equivalent to 31.5 Million votes (2.1 M x 15). The final canvass – 39.9 Million (8.4 + 31.5) votes, which i think is enough to send one “kabayan” to the senate.

A Balikbayan Box an OFW Vote for OFWEmpowerment

Now that we are able to see the numbers, we realize that this is no longer wishful thinking, we can do this. However, we must do our share in the whole scheme of things – 15 votes from your immediate circle of relatives and friends is not a huge task – I actually think we can even target 20 to 30. Relatives are easy, friends – madami dyan nakakatikim lagi ng tsokolate, sabon, lotion at iba pa tuwing dadating ka, di pa kasali ang inuman at kainan at kunting pautang sa oras ng kagipitan, now is the time to at least ask for a small return favor. Another positive factor – communications today is very easy – email, text, cheaper long distance calls. It really doesnt matter kung nasa abroad tayo, we can still do our share in the campaign. Come to think of it, if we hit 30 target votes for each – this is around 63 Million votes, topnotcher na to sa senado.

Here is another helpful tip – every average voter will probably have 5-8 solid senators out of the required 12 in their individual preferential list. Ang balance dyan ay panakip butas na lang, just to complete the 12 allowed votes. In my experience, kadalasan 1 or 2 votes for senators ay minadali na dahil wala ng oras. Kadalasan di mo na nga matandaan kung sino yung last 2 or 3 na napili mo. Given this, it will not be that hard to tell our friends or relatives, paki sali naman yung isang manok natin, kahit doon na lang sa panapon na boto nya, para di naman masayang ang vote nya.

I’m sure after looking at the above scenarios, we can all feel positively na kaya natin to. We must do our share, this is the whole point and the assigned task for each is so easy, sa isang oras na text lang or email baka na-accomplish na natin ang share natin. Alam na natin that we need some representations at the highest level, yung taong kaisa natin, galing sa atin. However, alam naman natin ang mentality ng kadamihan, ok sana kaya lang wala naman mangyayari, kunti lang tayo, sayang lang. Now ikalat na nating ang mathematical probability na to, na we can do it and its really very easy para matauhan ang lahat ng yun lang pala yun – PWEDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have been glamorized as modern day heroes, saviour of the nation, redeemer in times of economic distress. Pero hindi natin maramdaman eto and individually as an ofw wala naman tayong nakikitang prestige or glamour man lang sa mga monickers na to. The facts are pag nasa pinas tayo, sinisigawan lang tayo ng isang sekyu sa airport at tinataboy ang ating mga mahal sa buhay na parang mga hayop na umalis na at madaliin ang pagpapa-alam. Saan ba sila naghihintay pag dumadating ka, sa isang higanteng hawla, kala mo pumunta ka sa Manila Zoo, paghalik mo tuloy sa asawa mo at mga anak mo nahilamusan ka pa ng pawis nila. Pag nasa POEA ka, doon sa basement ka kukuha ng OEC, at ganun din kabangis ang asal ng mga sekyu at workers doon. Pag nagipit ka, sino ba ang nalalapitan mo sa gobyerno, mayron naman dyan pero libo libo kayong may problema, kaya wala kang priority. May programa ba tayong purely for ofw’s – I think wala, sa SSS at Pag-big at Medicare, singit lang tayo. Ang OWWA naman, aywan kung ano to, basta nagbayad tayo kasi kailangan ng OEC. Nakita nyo ba sa TV yung mga dependents natin nag-aaway-away na sa pila sa OWWA para makahiram lang ng sampung libo dahil sa nakaraang bagyong Ondoy at Pepeng. Madami tayong hinaing, maraming problema ang supposed to be heroes na alam naman natin na “lip service” lang ag binyag sa atin na to – “hero ka dyan”.

Our impact in our country is gained from our collective efforts particularly yung suma total ng ating remittances. The key word or the operative word here is “collective”. Individually, walang effect – yung $1000 na pinadala mo, walang effect but the $1000 na pinadala ng 5 Million ofw’s sa isang buwan is equivalent to $5 billion, yun ang may impact. Its about time para gamitin din natin ang ating collective power, we have this in our hands but not as individuals but as ofw’s collectively, acting as one huge, gigantic force.

Lets start with this electoral exercise, iparamdam na natin kung sino tayo, let start doing things from the position of strength, ipakita natin na we are a force to reckon with, that we can indeed make or break our nation. One OFW in the senate, this is not too much to ask for, set aside natin ang president and vice president, im sure we have our own choices. Kaya natin to, look at the numbers and look at your share in the undertaking, peanuts, no sweat. Lets not forget the operative word always, “collective”, for once, let us start being one. 

Salamat po and good luck sa ating lahat………. OFW – ONE FILIPINO WORKER

From: an OFW like YOU

Philemb Advisory OAV and List of Candidates re: 2010 Philippine National Election

PhilEmb-RUH Advisory

COMELEC List of Approved Candidates for 2010 Philippine National Election.

PRESIDENT:

1) Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III (LP)

2)  Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan)

3) Ma. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal (independent)

4) Manny Villar (NP)

5) Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD)

6) Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada  (PMP)

7) Eddie Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas)

8) Carlos “JC” Delos Reyes  (Ang Kapatiran Party)

VICE PRESIDENT:

1) Manuel “Mar” Roxas III  (LP)

2) Loren Legarda  (NP)

3) Bayani Fernando (Bagumbayan)

4) Edu Manzano (Lakas-Kampi CMD)

5) Jejomar Binay  (PMP)

6) Perfecto Yasay  (Bangon Pilipinas)

7) Jay Sonza  (KBL)

8 )  Dominador Chipeco  (Ang Kapatiran)

SENATORS:

1)      Nereus Acosta (LP)

2)      Sharuff Ibrahim Albani (KBL)

3)      Zafrullah Alonto (Bangon)

4)      Ana Theresa Baraquel (LP)

5)      Jv Larion Bautista (PMP)

6)      Martin Bautista (LP)

7)      Silvestre Bello III (Lakas Kampi CMD)

8)      Rozanno Rufino Biazon (LP)

9)      Bong Revilla (Lakas Kampi CMD)

10)   Henry Caunan (PDP Laban)

11)   PIA Cayetano (NP)

12)   Rizalito David (Ang Kapatiran)

13)   Joey De Venecia (PMP)

14)   Miriam Defensor Santiago  (PRP)

15)   Franklin Drilon (LP)

16)   Juan Ponce Enrile (PMP)

17)   Jinggoy Estrada (PMP)

18)   Ramon Guico (Lakas Kampi CMD)

19)   Teofisto Guingona III (LP)

20)   Jo Aurea Imbong (Ang Kapatiran)

21)   Kata Inocencio (Bangon)

22)   Alexander Lacson (LP)

23)   Raul Lambino (Lakas Kampi CMD)

24)   Rey Langit (Lakas Kampi CMD)

25)   Yasmin Lao (LP)

26)   Lito Lapid (Lakas Kampi CMD)

27)   Alma Lood (KBL)

28)   Aplonario Lozada (PMP)

29)   Regalado Maambong (KBL)

30)   Fredinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (NP)

31)   Liza Maza  (Independent)

32)   Ma. Judea Millora (KBL)

33)   Ramon Mitra (NP)

34)   Ramoncito Ocampo (Bangon)

35)   Satur Ocampo (Bangon)

36)   Susan Ople (NP)

37)   Sergio Osmena III (Independent)

38)   JOvito Palaparan, Jr. (Independent)

39)   Imelda Papin (KBL)

40)   Zosimo Paredes (Ang Kapatiran)

41)   Gwendolyn Pimentel (PDP Laban)

42)   Rodolfo Plaza (NPC)

43)   Reynaldo Princesa (Bangon)

44)   Ariel Querubin (NP)

45)   Ralph Recto (LP)

46)   Gilbert Remulla (NP)

47)   Ma. Gracia Rinoza Plazo (Ang Kapatiran)

48)   Sonia Roco (LP)

49)   Adrian Sison (Ang Kapatiran)

50)   Vicente Sotto III (NPC)

51)   Adel Tamano (NP)

OAV Internet Voting and OFW representation – Hoping for the best

OAV Internet Voting and  OFW representation – Hoping for the best

GFN (Global Filipino Nation) a group of a coalition of major Filipino expatriate organizations who drafted the insertion of internet registration and voting said that the proposed amendment of Republic Act 9189 known as Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 is now pending in the Senate.  The bill contains the new version of allowing Internet voting for overseas Filipinos. 

internet

Internet Vote - OFW Vote

GFN office in Manila spokesperson Connie Gomez Valdes in an email said that  “the bill was technically approved in the Committee on Constitutional Amendments headed by Sen. Chiz Escudero and is being passed around the tables of Senators Loren Legarda, Manuel “Mar” Roxas and  Noynoy Aquino for signature.  Once they have signed, it will be discussed in the Senate.”   

GFN advocates empowering global community of unified Filipinos to proactively participate in their motherland’s mainstream activities particularly the right to vote.  GFN is pursuing the passage of this amendment for the coming May 2010 elections.  GFN led convenor, Asian Leaders 2004 awardee  Mr. Vic Barrios and FilAm community leader Ernie Del Rosario are the two proponents who drafted the insertion of internet registration and voting in the proposed amendment. 

Called GFN Lead Harvesters, they appeal to global Filipinos to help lobbying or pushing for the passage of the amendment before the May 2010 election.   “Since we did not make it happen for the registration period, I appeal to everyone to please help us by writing letters to the senators and congressmen” said Connie Gomez Valdes.

 ”It would be good also to write to your consuls to make them aware that we are on top of the situation” she added.

Internet voting was successfully tested in Singapore last July 20 to August 8 which the Commission on Elections describes as “major step forward” towards the full modernization of Philippine elections.  Being a remote electronic system, OAVs can cast their votes from their homes, workplaces and cyber cafes and voting stations to be set up inside the Philippine embassy.  

Filipino community leader Rudy Nazruddin Dianalan based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the main proponent of ”internet voting”  during the tripartite meeting of Filipino community in Saudi Arabia  said  “internet voting is the most practical method to maximize the participation of OAVoters in elections.”

Most Overseas Filipinos are far away from diplomatic posts and going to the nearest one to vote entails too much expenses. Like here in Saudi Arabia.  OFWs that are registered as absentee voters can only go either to the embassy in Riyadh or the consulate in Jeddah.

“Of more than one million OFWs in the kingdom, only about ten to fifteen percent are within reasonable distance to the two diplomatic posts here. Spread over a land area about five times larger than the Philippines, most OFWs do not have the means or the motivation to travel a long distance to cast their votes.”  Mr. Dianalan added.

Rudy Nazruddin Dianalan is among called by OFWs in Saudi Arabia to represent the OFWs in the Senate.  Filipino community is hoping that major Philippine political parties will include OFW stalwarts in their Senate slate.

“Assuming a crack at the senate, my advocacy shall center on the protection of OFWs from recruitment to worksite, the welfare of their families left back home, strengthening the ties of Overseas Filipinos to the Philippines and their reintegration, and enhancing a global Filipino nation.” He said.

Mr. Dianalan is the Chairman Emeritus of KASAPI,   duly recognized federated and coalesced alliance of Filipino community organizations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  He was one of those who hardly fought that  OFWs should be represented in Congress.  

Among the names eyed to represent OFWs is Susan “Toots” Ople, the daughter of the late Sen. Blas F. Ople.

She served in the Senate in 1987 as media relations officer of Senator Ernesto Herrera.  In 1989, the Citizens’ Drug Watch Foundation was created with Herrera as president and Susan as executive director.  When the late Sen. Ople was designated Foreign Affairs Secretary, he brought Susan with him as chief of staff.  It was during her stint at the DFA that Susan became deeply involved in human trafficking and OFW cases.  In 2004, after  Senator Ople  died, Susan Ople was appointed Undersecretary of Labor and Employment.

Since the 1970s, the issue of Overseas Filipino Workers welfare has become one of the primary concerns of the government. However, in spite of efforts to provide protection, benefits, and programs to address their welfare, there are still many OFWs that have become victims of various circumstances and abuses from their foreign employers.

In 1992, the Party List Act of the Philippines was signed into law.  However, the implementing rules of the Party List Act came very late and the  then newly elected President, Fidel V. Ramos, appointed party-list representatives from several recognized sectors, like labor, business, cooperatives, teachers, OFWs, and others.

Ramos also appointed two OFW sectoral representatives in Congress, from the ranks of  OFWs  in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  

But many say the failure of OFW sectoral representation in Congress was because the representation itself did not enjoy the mandate of the OFW sector they are supposed to represent.

In 1995 up to now many OFW party lists tried their luck to participate in the last elections, not even one of them  garnered the mandatory requirement in number of votes needed to be able to nominate a representative to Congress. 

Now, that unity is too elusive to achieve, the OFWs will try the upper House of Philippine Congress, the Senatehoping for the best.  

By: Bong Amora

Related Post : The continuing saga towards OFW Empowerment