MANILA –The Department of Foreign Affairs – Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) and COMELEC-OFOV have signed tripartite memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for the continuing registration/certification of qualified overseas Filipinos.
The agreement signed on Feb. 22 will allow the said agencies to jointly establish a Pre-Departure Registration Center for departing Overseas Filipinos through an accessible overseas voter registration facility.
In addition, the DFA-OVS plans to open registration centers at the DFA Office of Consular Affairs (OCA), ASEANA; DFA Satellite Offices in SM Manila, Robinsons Galleria, and in Alabang; and in DFA Regional Consular Offices in Davao, Cebu, and Pampanga within the next couple of months.
The overseas voter registration for the 2016 elections netted a cumulative total of 1,376,067 active registered overseas voters. The 826,881 new registrants for the 2016 elections, was more than a 100 percent increase over the 398,554 new registrants for the 2013 elections.
Of the almost 1.4 million registered overseas voters, 590,440 are from the Middle East and Africa, 334,215 from the Asia Pacific, 263,316 from the Americas, 138,757 from Europe, and 49,339 were Sea-based.
“Should the Congress of the Philippines be able to finalize, vote and approve the proposed constitutional amendments, we are prepared and ready to conduct the necessary plebiscite. Because as we all know, the amendments to the constitution which are being proposed now foremost which is federalism will become valid, and will become integral part of the constitution, only if they are ratified by our people in a plebiscite that the COMELEC will conduct,” Commissioner Arthur D. Lim, Commissioner-in-Charge of COMELEC-OFOV said in a statement.
“To our overseas kababayan’s, this continuing registration activity is very important because the May 2019 elections will prove to be also very important if not pivotal because the referendum/ plebiscite or the questions for the people on whether they are in favour of the constitutional amendment might also be included in the May 2019 midterm elections.
The philosophy or policy here is that, every Filipino, whereever you are in the world, you have the right to participate in the elections because this is not only the future of the present generation but also the generations to come,” Lim added.
“There are still plenty of overseas Filipinos that have yet to register and vote so it’s the duty of the DFA along with the Foreign Service Post’s to encourage them to register and vote because this coming midterm elections is important specially if constitutional amendment bill will be approved by the Congress,” said Undersecretary Ariel Y. Abadilla, who is concurrently Chairman of DFA-OVS.
The registration/certification of qualified overseas Filipinos for the 2019 elections resumed last December 01, 2016 and will end on September 30, 2018.
All Filipino citizens who expect to be abroad from April 13 – May 13, 2019 during the overseas voting period for the 2019 Elections, at least 18 years old on May 13, 2019, and not otherwise disqualified by law, may register as an overseas voter, at all Philippine Foreign Service Posts, including the three Manila Economic and Cultural Offices (MECO) in Taiwan and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Al-Khobar (for an updated list please go to www.dfa-oavs.gov.ph or www.comelec.gov.ph).