Absentee voting law changes to draw more Pinoys abroad to participate in polls

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Saturday said it expects more Filipinos abroad to participate in the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) because the “biggest stumbling block” to the process has been removed.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said revisions in the Overseas Voting Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10590), particularly the provision removing the “affidavit of intent to return” requirement, now allows a big number of qualified Filipino abroad to vote.

“The affidavit of intent to return prevented them from exercising their right to vote under the previous law,” Jimenez said.

Under RA 10590, Filipino immigrants and permanent residents abroad will no longer be required to execute an affidavit declaring that they shall resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three years from approval of their registration.


Jimenez also said an Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) will be established under the Comelec to specifically oversee and supervise the implementation of the Overseas Voting Act.

The data of the Comelec – Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV) showed that only 737,759 Filipinos abroad voted in the May elections.

The number is but a small fraction of the 4,056,940 Filipino immigrants worldwide, based on statistics from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Aside from the removal of the affidavit, the poll body believes that other amendments to the law, such as the utilization of the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminars (PDOS) to support the overseas voter registration and voting processes and the allowing of Filipinos abroad to participate in all national referenda and plebiscites will definitely increase the number of voters.

In the past, the OAV only allows Filipinos abroad to vote in presidential, vice-presidential, senatorial and party-list elections.

JOHANNA M. SAMPAN

 

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1 Comment

  1. manuel abella on

    if voter registration can be done at POEA while we process our “OEC”..i believe many OFW would like to participate in the next election 2016.and if the place for voting is very accessible to us coz transportation is very difficult if you do not have a car of your own.like for example in our present location Jubail,KSA{eastern province}the voting should be held at the center of the city where most of our kababayans will stay after a days work and if possible in a well known hotel and not in a isolated place like in international school facilities where some of us dont even know where the location is