Riyadh KSA, 4 August 2009 – An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in an online news dated 10 July 2009 said the deadline for registration of overseas absentee voters (OAVs) will not be extended. To those who wants that OAV registration deadline be set to a new date, “the period of registration from February 1 to August 31, is long enough” according to Comelec Commissioner in charge of OAV Nicodemo Ferrer.
Meanwhile, in an information received from Connie Gomez Valdes, Deputy Executive Director of Global Filipino Nation said that “Committee of OAVL amendment headed by Sen. Chiz Escudero is rushing the final draft in preparation for the bicameral session hearing”. The mentioned committee is authorized to prescribe innovative and additional procedures for OAV registration and voting.
In the same email are the summary of OAV registrants obtained from DFA OAVS as of August 3, 2009 where Hongkong got 16,332 the highest new numbers of registrants per list of overseas post. United States of America got the highest numbers of 23,540 per country list of new OAV registrants. Saudi Arabia ranked 4th in the list of top ten countries that gathered 9,702. More new registrants are expected to register in the last days of registration period.
However, Filipino community in Saudi Arabia are hoping that the number of registrants will climb up till the end of registration period. One factor is that in 2010 election, the voters will elect the President and the Vice President, the two highest elected official in the land.
“The success of Overseas Absentee Voting relies much on the participation of every Overseas Filipinos and their desire to vote in which it is a privilege and obligation of every Filipinos to exercise their right of suffrage ” says Philippine Envoy to Saudi Arabia Ambassador Antonio Villamor during the 2007 Filcom OAV assessment Forum.
According to COMELEC, those who are already included in the Certified List of Overseas Absentee Voters (CLOAV), but who failed to vote in the last two elections (2004 and 2007) will be removed from the list. Those de-listed from the CLOAV will have to register again during the registration period.
Filipino Community in Saudi Arabia are urging fellow OFW’s to register and let their voices be heard in 2010 Philippine election. OFW’s in Saudi Arabia are the most active advocates in the fight for absentee voting that was enacted into law as R.A. 9189, “The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003,”.
The rest of the new registrants as of 3 August 2009 came from Asia Pacific countries (44,999), Middle East and Africa (30,428), America and the rest of European countries (46,967). – by: BongA