Finding Out Who Among Them – 2016 National Election

In Philippine May 2016 National Election, registered Overseas Absentee Voters should focus on finding out who among in the national candidates for President to Vice President and Senators  worthy of our vote.  

The OFW sector should be well represented by those legislators who are really concerned with issues in relation to the general welfare of Overseas Filipinos or OF. Please note that I referred Overseas Filipinos as Filipino Immigrants with dual citizenship, Filipino migrant workers and land based and seafarers.

Sad to say that there are few OFW supporters in the legislative body  of our government.  In the 16th Congress, the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs are comprised of  35 members, the 4 among them are identified as OFW advocates.  Bills authored and co-authored by those OFW advocates are still pending or referred to another house committee for evaluation. Some of those bills even lasted for 2 to 3 years on their shelves. Undoubtedly, it will never be deliberated or acted upon or even reach on the second reading or be included in the order of business.  Remember, that every House Bills are still subject of Senate action which undergoes the same legislative procedures.

Would the above scenario be corrected? Yes! Why not? The legislator who is an OFW advocate, an author or just a co-author of the bill can influence the members of the committee being referred, to speed up the process by conducting  immediate public hearings on the proposed legislation.  Non-government organizations, expert on migration, OFW/Seafarers organizations (overseas and at home) or individuals whose advocacies focused on the main issues and concerns of OFWs should likewise be pro-active to pressure the members of the committee to move to the next level of the process.  Sorry to say that some of our OFW advocates in the House and the Senate are busy focusing on other matters in their other areas or field of expertise. Some of those bills can be included in the lists of the “Silliest Proposed Laws Philippine Lawmakers Tried to Pass.” 

According to “The Action Guide for Advocacy and Citizen Participation”, Policy advocacy is an initiative to focus exclusively on the policy agenda and a specific policy goal. These advocates usually assume that policy change will produce real change on the ground.

So, in the coming national election, I arrived into a simplest form of identifying those politicians in line with our cause by rating them on how they managed to support on certain OFW issues at the House and the Senate. Others can be identified on how many bills they authored or co-authored during their incumbencies.  How many of those bills signed into law, how many resolutions they filed for the general welfare of Filipinos overseas.   

I personally categorized the following 2016 aspiring candidates at the national level into four (4) categories:        

  1. PRO-OFW – A politician who advocates, argues, defend, participate or justify policies in relation to the general welfare of Overseas Filipinos/ OFWs.
  2. CONSIDERATE –  A politician with a specific position on certain issue or concerns in relation to the welfare of Overseas Filipinos.
  3. MODERATE – A politician whose legislative agendas focused on another field of advocacies and rarely participate on issues and concerns of OFWs. 
  4. UN-RATED –  To be rated or categorize later on.


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


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