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.
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.
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.
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 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 –