Absentee voting law turns 2 but registration lukewarm–DFA
By Veronica Uy
THE OVERSEAS Absentee Voting (OAV) Law or Republic Act 9189 is two years old this Monday but so far Filipino workers abroad have been lukewarm in their efforts to register for the 2007 elections, according to the OAV secretariat of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
As of today, there are a total of 18,071 overseas Filipino workers out of the one million expected to enlist within the registration period that started October 2005 and will end on August 31 this year, Marichu Mauro of the OAV secretariat said.
At the same time, the Center for Migrants Advocacy is urging all Filipinos overseas to register for the 2007 polls.
In an interview, CMA executive director Ellene Sana announced that a field registration would be scheduled in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Friday, February 17. She invited OFWs to register.
“It took Congress more than 16 years to pass the law and allow OFWs to participate in the national elections in the Philippines. Let us not waste this opportunity to be involved in nation-building,” said Sana.
Mauro confirmed the scheduled registration in Riyadh.
In an e-mail, Manuel Amora of the Kalipunang Kaakbay ng Manggagawang Pilipino (KAKAMPI-KSA) Industrial Area-Riyadh said that aside from the scheduled OAV registration on Friday, other programs set that day would be: an outreach program to inform OFWs about their rights and welfare, Saudi laws, traditions, and culture, and SSS (Social Security System) and PAG-IBIG benefits.
Membership to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration may also be renewed that day, Amora said.
For the OAV registration, Amora called on his fellow OFWs to bring a photocopy of the first page of their passport and any valid identification such as driver’s license, OWWA ID, SSS or company ID.
Amora said that from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the OFW activities would be held at the Islamic Center of the 2nd Industrial Area, in Riyadh, at the new basketball court near the market.