Philippine election: Overseas absentee voting to begin on April 10

Ten electronic voting machines were tested and sealed for the OAV at the Consulate in Dubai



AP File
AP File

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sat 2 Apr 2022, 6:05 PM

Last updated: Sat 2 Apr 2022, 6:48 PM

The Philippine missions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are set for the upcoming overseas absentee voting (OAV) that will see up to 308,779 Filipino expats cast their ballots to elect the next leaders in their homeland.

Philippine officials at the Consulate-General in Dubai and the Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Saturday conducted the final testing and sealing of vote-counting machines, which will be used for voting from April 10 to May 9.

Ten electronic voting machines were tested and sealed for the OAV at the Consulate in Dubai, where 191,779 Filipinos are registered voters. In Abu Dhabi, 117,00 land-based expats and seafarers are eligible to vote.

Vice-Consul Elizabeth Ramos of the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai told Khaleej Times that registered voters can walk into the consulate to obtain any information on voting and the procedure. “The registered voters will be allowed in the consulate to vote for the president, vice-president, 12 senators and one party list.”

“It is necessary for every registered voter to bring along and produce a valid ID proof before casting their vote,” added Ramos.

Thousands of government positions are at stake in this year’s Philippine elections, including who will succeed Rodrigo Duterte as the next president of the southeast Asian country.

With the campaign season peaking in the country, five presidential candidates have been dominating surveys. Ferdinand Marcos Jr, 64 — the son and namesake of the former president overthrown in a 1986 ‘People Power’ uprising — is the clear leader in opinion polls, based on reports from Philippine media and agencies. Promising unity, Marcos Jr, also known as Bongbong Marcos or BBM, has been saying he wants to serve the people, despite criticism hurled against him and his family about ill-gotten wealth and tax evasion.

Another major contender is current vice-president Leni Robredo, whose clean track record of public service and grassroots leadership approach have earned her many supporters. Other top candidates include Manila mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso, retired boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo Lacson, a former police chief.

Filipinos will also be electing the next vice-president and senators, among other public officials.

Rizalino Funtanilla, a poll watcher from the Overseas Filipino Party List had urged all registered voters to cast their ballot to decide the country’s future. “It is necessary for every single registered voter to vote for the right person.

“This is now the opportunity to choose who we think can help improve lives overseas and primarily in our country. We exercise what is really in the Philippines Constitution that we are a democratic country. There are many organizations which have shown interest to poll watching, but we are among the few chosen to do the task,” added Funtanilla.

‘Vote early’

Though the voting period for overseas Filipinos will run for a month, expats are urged “not to wait until the last minute” to cast their ballots, said Vice-Consul Paola Ebora of the Dubai Consulate.

Ebora said that the registered voters can cast their vote at the Dubai PCG or Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and the Philippines Embassy in Abu Dhabi. “If we increase the polling precincts due to rush, we will be announcing it later.”

The Philippines has been using an electronic vote-counting system for the elections since 2010.

On a paper ballot, each voter must select one candidate for each of the national positions. The ballot will be run through the vote-counting machine, which will then print a receipt, count all the votes, and transmit them to the board of canvassers.

Reminders for Filipino voters in Dubai

Voting period:

  • April 10 - May 9: 8am (daily)

On May 9- 8am-3pm (Philippine time)

  • Check if your name is included in the Certified List of Voters (CLOV) via the consulate’s website
  • Present your Emirates ID/Passport/any valid ID during the election for identification process

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