DUBAI: A Voters’ Education Campaign (VEC) is next on the card after the May 6, 2014 to Oct 31, 2015 overseas absentee voting registration for Filipinos, according to a senior official at Philippine Consulate General-Dubai (PCGDXB).
Data from the PCGDXB and the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi (AUHPE) showed a total of 133,471 had either registered for the first time or had reactivated their overseas absentee voting (OAV) status, relative to the “Halalan 2016” presidential or national month-long OAV from April 2016, reported Gulf Today.
“The embassy had exceeded its target of 40,500 by more than 15,000 new registrants,” AUHPE Second Secretary and Consul, Roseny Fangco, reportedly said.
“This is a significant increase considering that during the 2011-2012 OAVR, the Post was able to register only 5,374 new registrants,” she was quoted as saying.
There are 77,885 new registrants from Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, according to PCGDXB Deputy Consul General Giovanni Palec, the report said.
There was a surge of registrants towards the last week of the OAV with queues extending up to 8pm at both the ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel “Filipino Expo” in Dubai, and at the PCGDXB on Oct 30, it added.
The rise in the OAV applicants was also noted amid news some two months back that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would contest for the presidential candidacy, it was pointed out.
Asked about the VEC as the diplomatic mission may be accused of electioneering, Palec reportedly said there is the need to encourage the registered voters to fully exercise their right to suffrage.
From the May 13, 2013, the Philippine mid-term or legislative elections, only 6,885 of the 77,487 certified overseas voters in the UAE and based on the Certified List of Overseas Absentee Voters (CLOAV) of Manila’s Commission on Elections, cast their votes, it was pointed out.
Palec reportedly wished to have even half of the total number of registered voters across the seven emirates – including the “old voters” – participate in the elections.
He stressed that the VEC is not a means to influence the choices of the OAV electorate.
“It is also encouraging them to vote early and not on the last day or towards the end of the election period,” Palec was quoted as saying by Gulf Today.
From the 2013 mid-term elections, former Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Grace Relucio Princesa and former PCGDXB Consul General Frank Cimafranca, reportedly said that the next challenge for Manila government officials in the UAE was how to entice more of their countrymen to exercise their right to suffrage.