THE start of absentee voting for migrant Filipinos was a “success,” according to a Malacañang official.
“Based on reports, the start of the absentee voting for more or less 1.38 million migrant Filipinos or overseas Filipinos around the world was a success,” Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday.
“We are one with the Comelec [Commission on Elections] in its objective of allowing more of our fellow Filipinos in other countries to participate in the elections and practice their right to vote,” he added.
The overseas absentee voting (OAV) covers nearly 1.4 million migrant Filipinos and will run for a month beginning April 9 and ending May 9, the day of the local and national elections.
A total of 1,376,067 Filipinos have registered for the OAV, where voters can pick candidates for national positions namely: President, Vice President, senators and party-list representatives in Congress.
OAV voters can cast their ballots through vote counting machines (VCMs), personal manual voting and postal manual voting.
Also on Sunday, Coloma welcomed an announcement by the poll body that it has completed the printing of about 60 million ballots in just 49 days, 18 days ahead of schedule.
“It has broken the record in 2013 wherein 52 million ballots were printed by the National Printing Office… the ballots printed in 2013 were 14 percent lower [than 2016]but the [NPO] was able to finish it in just 49 days,” the Palace official said.
Coloma added that the early printing of ballots will contribute immensely to ensuring the timely and proper conduct of the May 2016 elections.
He heads the NPO, an agency under the Presidential Communications Operations Office.