Internet Voter Registration System for Overseas Filipinos Goes Global

 07 August 2015 – The Department of Foreign Affairs – Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) advices the public that iREHISTRO is now global.  iREHISTRO is a system that provides another way of accomplishing forms for voter registration related process. Prospective applicants still have to appear personally at Foreign Service Posts or Mobile/Field registration sites, to sign and submit their duly accomplished printed form, and for biometrics capturing. In addition, the processed applications still have to be approved by the Resident Election Registration Board (RERB).
Click here for the Online Application Form

Click Image for the Online Application Form

Overseas Filipinos in the Asia Pacific (except China and Taiwan), Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa region now have the option of filling up the forms from the comfort of their homes, workplace, internet café, or anywhere they have access to reliable internet connection. The optional appointment feature of the system allows for better time management since it provides them an easy way to schedule their personal appearance at the Embassy, Consulate General, Mission or Mobile/Field registration site.

All Filipino citizens who expect to be in the Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa during the 30-day (09 April – 09 May 2016) overseas voting period for the 2016 National Elections, at least 18 years old on 09 May 2016, not otherwise disqualified by law and who would like to be among the first overseas Filipinos to become part of this historical evolution of the Philippine overseas electoral process, may now go to or  to access the iREHISTRO System to register as an overseas voter. The voter registration period ends on October 31. END

Source: DFA Website 


Philippine Embassy-Riyadh Advisory: 

Advisory on the Temporary Suspension of  Overseas Voting On-Line Services

(Riyadh, 11 August 2015) – The Philippine Embassy informs the Filipino community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that, per advice from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the following overseas voting services will be unavailable to the public during the period 10–12 and 17–18 August 2015:

  1. All automated Finger Identification System (AFIS) related services and process such as AFIS matching, ID generation and all verification and record searching;
  2. COMELEC website together with the iREHISTRO and Precinct Finder.

The temporary suspension of services is due to the interruption of public utilities in the COMELEC Head Office. (END)

OFW Political Empowerment 2016

OFW representation in Congress

The Philippine Election 2016 is fast approaching. It will be held on May next year and being at home, I can feel and smell the preparation of some politicians in the surrounding community that I belong. Even in TV ads, some Presidentiables are busy making their own “papogi points” to the public. Of course, it’s part of their strategy to win the public sentiment on national issues at hand.

Talking about OFW Political empowerment, the OFWs were able to get a seat in Congress through the OFW Family Party List group who made it in the last 2013 election. Truly, we are proud that OFWs are finally represented in Congress since 14 years when former Congressman Sid Aligada and  Omar Fajardo were appointed by former President Fidel Ramos to represent OFWs in the Philippine lower house of Congress.

But frankly, I can’t feel of any changes being made or introduced on the various issues of government policies that concerns our OFWs. I am not against Congressman Roy Seneres and in fairness, the good Congressman filed several bills in Congress since he assumed office yet none of them made it to the President’s desk. Surprisingly, I read an online article that he is eyeing for 2016 Presidential election. That, I have so much doubt that he can even reach number  10 in the list of the highest votes for the Presidency. Well, for me 750 thousand votes are not enough to change the course of history from Congress to Presidency. My sincere apology to the former Ambassador, that’s only my opinion and I am entitled to it. However, if the good former Ambassador will stick to where he is now and ask his colleagues in Congress to prioritize his bills, then Sir, you have my one vote again.

OFW Political Empowerment in barangay level


Photo taken from the website of Barangay Info System-Davao

During the 2013 barangay election there were 53,786,223 registered Filipino voters according to COMELEC website It means out of 101 Million Philippine population (taken from  worldometers) half of our population are registered voters.

How many per cent of OFW family comprised a mere barangay?  According to my neighbour who works at the local office of the Philippine Statistics Authority, in one particular barangay in Cebu, OFWs is comprised of 5% of the barangay population. Each family of that 5% population has 4 to 5 family members who are registered voters. Good enough for an OFW (former OFW or OFW family members or relatives) who wants to run as a barangay councilman with a 2,500 votes for a barangay population that consist of 10,000 registered voters.

Perhaps, the continuing saga in our fight for OFW political empowerment must start in barangay level. So, by representing the concerns of OFWs in a barangay or in many barangays around the Philippine archipelago, then the national scene will follow.

According to the April to September 2014 statistical report by Grace Bersales of Philippine Statistics Authority, there was an estimated 2.3 million Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs/OFWs) or those with existing work contract comprised 96.0 per cent (2.2 million) of the total OFWs.  The rest (4.0% or 92,000) worked overseas without contract.

The total of 2,392,000 OFWs plus  five of their families back home can even move a mountain apart to put a President in Malacanang with a total of 11,960,000 votes; near enough to what President Aquino garnered in 2010 presidential election.

Well that’s only a simple presumption, nonetheless  Benjamin Banneker, an African American scientist once said “presumption should never make us neglect that which appears easy to us, nor despair make us lose courage at the sight of difficulties.”

That’s the reason why I am advocating Overseas Absentee Voting registration and requesting those  975,263 Overseas Absentee Voters worldwide to update your voting status, especially to those 237,504 registered voters who failed to vote in the previous Philippine national election.

To my fellow OFWs, talk to your families back home, ask them to participate in the October 2016 barangay election and through them, we can now empower by representing our OFW sector in the barangay level.BongA    

2013 Philippine Election Party List Winners

partylist winners

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


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.


Ambassador Roy

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


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

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


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:

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)


Advisory: OAVs Who Failed to Vote Twice


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.


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:

From DFA-OAVS at

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 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 ( ) and  Consulate ( ) 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

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