Philippines: All Systems Go for Absentee Voting — DFA Exec

Apr. 13, 2007

Department of Foreign Affairs
2330 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, Philippines ? Tel. No. 834-4000 ?

Statement of the Hon. Rafael E. Seguis
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for special Concerns
and chairman of the overseas absentee voting secretariat
on overseas voting for the may 2007 elections

13 April 2007

Members of the media, ladies and gentlemen:

Tomorrow marks the start of the second Overseas Absentee Voting exercise in our countrys history.

We assure our people that after months of extensive preparations in partnership and support of the Commission on Elections, the Foreign Service is ready to serve overseas Filipinos in the conduct of these mid-term elections.

How will this years elections differ from that of 2004s?

1. This is the first mid-term or non-presidential elections that our overseas voters will participate in.

2. We have a higher rate of qualified voters a total of 504, 110 registrants in 156 countries involving 88 Foreign Service Posts, compared to 361, 446 registered for the 2004 elections. Of the new registrants, we note the following breakdown:

o 55,742 of them registered abroad;
o 39,223 registered at the POEA; and
o 47,669 registered at NAIA while preparing for their flights to foreign destinations.

3. This year, 61 countries will vote by mail compared to the 2004 elections wherein only three countries were allowed to vote by mail. The intention in expanding voting by mail is to make the election as convenient as possible for our citizens overseas.

Thus, for this years elections:

o 174, 832 voters are entitled to receive and mail back their ballots through the postal system.
o 329, 278 will cast their ballots personally at the Foreign Posts.
o In Vietnam, we will have field voting in Ho Chi Minh City under the supervision of our Honorary Consulate General.

During the 2004 elections, the rate of participation among our compatriots overseas was 65%. We aim to have at least the same level of participation, or hopefully a higher turnout depending on the response of our registered voters.

We appeal to the patriotic spirit of our half-a-million OAV registrants to exercise their right to vote. The votes cast by our compatriots overseas can make a real difference in the forthcoming elections. Their active interest and vigilance in monitoring the OAV exercise will also help safeguard the credibility of this years polls.

All systems are in place for overseas absentee voting for the May elections. All Foreign Service personnel are under strict orders to maintain impartiality at all times. The OAV Secretariat and all our Foreign Posts share our peoples aspiration for clean, honest and credible elections. END

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