Philippine Consul General to OFWs: ‘Come out and vote, make a difference’

JEDDAH: With only five days left in the Philippines’ overseas voting exercise, Consul General Imelda M. Panolong on Wednesday urged Filipinos in the kingdom who are registered to vote to come out and cast their ballots.

“We’re encouraging all OFWs who are registered voters, not only in Jeddah but in the entire kingdom, to grab this opportunity and help make a difference for our country,” she said in an interview with Arab News.

Consul General Panolong noted that only about one-fifth of registered voters in the western region of the kingdom have voted as of closing time Tuesday.

“As of yesterday, 13,112 have cast their ballots. That’s 19 percent of the total registered voters in Jeddah, which is 68,751,” she said.

Voting for overseas Filipinos started on April 9, giving the country’s very important sector a month’s time to exercise their right of suffrage.

The Philippine elections is scheduled on May 9, with national and local positions at stake.

Overseas voters can vote only for the president, vice president, senators and party-list representative.

To accommodate voters who cannot leave their workplace during work hours, the consulate in Jeddah has extended voting time by three hours, or from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., since May 1.

On May 9, however, voting ends at 12 noon to synchronize with the closing time for the national elections in the Philippines.

There are a total of 1,376,067 overseas voters registered for this year’s elections, with 85 posts overseas where voting is allowed.

In the kingdom, voters can vote at the consulate in Jeddah, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and at the embassy’s extension office in Alkhobar.

Voting made easy

While the posts in the kingdom are using the personal manual voting system, rather than the automated election system, the voting process is fairly easy.

At the consulate, a voters list is made available for the public to see. Once the voters names had been located in the list, they are made to sign and put their thumbmarks on the list of voters, after which they are given the voting sheet.

After selecting one’s preferred candidates, the voter places the sheet on the counting machine, which then gives out a receipt showing who he voted for. Having confirmed that the results are correct, the voter places the receipt inside a sealed container. The receipt is to assure voters that their votes are counted correctly. So that the receipt would not become an instrument of vote-buying, voters are not allowed to take out their receipts.

Source: Arab News