Overseas Poll Registration Plan Sought

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino migrant rights watchdog on Thursday Thursday urged the government to bare its plan and timetable of activities on information dissemination and campaign for the upcoming overseas absentee voters (OAV) registration."It is barely more than a month from now, the OAV registration will soon commence. But there is no information dissemination drive yet conducted by various posts abroad," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, noting the importance of having the Filipino communities and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) organizations abroad to be informed of the upcoming OAV registration.Last May 1, the Comelec issued a notice posted on their official website that the OAV continuing registration abroad will start on October and will end by October next year in lieu of the May 2013 senatorial and party-list elections.The OAV law mandated the Comelec "to ensure that the benefits of the system of continuing registration are extended to qualified overseas absentee voters."Under Republic Act No. 8189, or The Voters Registration Act of 1996, Comelec "shall optimize the use of existing facilities, personnel and mechanisms of the various government agencies for purposes of data gathering, data validation, information dissemination and facilitation of the registration process."Monterona said that since the he Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat (DFA-OAVS) and the Comelec Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (Comelec-COAV) have just concluded a joint planning workshop for the registration of overseas absentee voters last July 29-30, it must immediately bare its information drive activities and timetable for the knowledge of the estimated 10 million OFWs worldwide.Monterona cited the lack of information and education drive as one of the reasons why the total number of registered absentee voters has not reached the one million mark as per Comelec target during the previous May 2010 national elections. …