Group urges OFWs, networks to intensify last-ditch OAV registration efforts

FILIPINO migrant’ rights group in the Middle East urged anew its members and networks to intensify its overseas Absentee voters (OAV) information dissemination campaign to reach 1-M absentee voters among Filipinos abroad until October 3, 2012.

“We have asked anew our chapters and networks abroad especially in countries where there are large concentrations of Filipinos to launch our sort of last-ditch effort OAV information dissemination campaign,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator.

Monterona said aside from massive dissemination of information about the on-going OAV and urging Filipinos abroad to register as absentee voters by using the internet and social networking sites as medium, their group would use the traditional way of reaching the most numbers of OFWs.

“We, Migrante officers, members, and OFW networks, from now up to end of OAV registration period, will to go to OFWs tambayans and OFWs accommodations to urge our fellow OFWs to register and explain to them the importance of exercising one’s right of suffrage,” Monterona added.

Monterona explained given the huge numbers of Filipinos abroad, including OFWs and immigrants, estimated to reached about twelve to 15-M, ‘we still believe that Filipinos abroad as absentee voters could be a potent swing vote that could win a nationally elected position such as President, Vice-president, and Senators.’

“We are also expecting that come May 2013 elections, a genuine representation of OFWs in Philippine Congress via party-list system of elections will come true hoping that the OAV turnouts will be huge,” Monterona averred.

On Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat (DFA-OAVS) in a statement said, ‘as of 31 August 2012, the total number of new registrants in the ongoing overseas absentee voting (OAV) registration exercise has already surpassed the figures in the 2010 National Elections, at 249,391 new OAV registrants.

Adding the new OAV registrants to those who have listed up during 2010 elections will reach to a total of 839,221 OAV registrants.

“Barely less than 200,000 more to reach the original COMELEC-DFA-OAVS target of 1-M overseas absentee voters and we still have a month of registration,” Monterona noted.

Monterona added that with OFWs and their organizations, all together disseminating information and urging fellow OFWs to register, then reaching the 1-M OAV target is not farfetched.

“Our OAV information dissemination efforts will continue until end of OAV registration period, but will shift our efforts on educating our fellow OFWs on their right to vote. Voters’ education is needed to have a mature and wise electorate who will be voting qualified and capable candidates during periodic elections,” Monterona said.

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