MANILA—Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, author of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, urged the overseas Filipinos to take part in the upcoming May 2016 elections.
Drilon, who is running for a re-election in the Senate under the Liberal Party, said that their fate, as well as the future of their families in the Philippines is at stake in the elections.
“We should not take for granted the May 2016 elections. We should exercise our right to vote and take an active role in choosing the country’s next set of leaders, Drilon said.
Drilon said that the main reason why he pushed for the absentee voting law is “to empower the overseas Filipino workers to participate in shaping our country’s future by electing qualified leaders.”
“The outcome of this election will have an impact on our country’s policies on the welfare of around seven million Filipinos living abroad including the 2.3 million overseas Filipino workers,” he stressed.
The four-time Senate President then lauded the Commission on Elections and the Department of Foreign Affairs for stepping up their efforts in implementing the Overseas Absentee Voting Act.
He said that it is the first time since the law’s enactment in 2003 that registered overseas voters has reached over one million.
Citing Comelec’s data, Drilon said that there are 1.37 million registered overseas voters who are expected to participate in the 2016 national elections, 826,880 of which are new registrants.
However, Drilon said that the real challenge for these two agencies is “how to increase the overseas voting turnout,” as he noted the low overseas voting turnout in the past elections.
During the 2010 elections, Drilon said that the actual number of voters that participated totaled 153,323, which represented only 26 percent of the 589,830 registered absentee voters in 2010.
Drilon said that he hopes that overseas Filipinos will avail of the one month overseas voting period which is slated from April 9 to May 9.