Enjoy our faster App experience

Philippine elections: Hundreds of Filipinos in UAE turn up as overseas voting begins

Some expats queue up as early as 6.30am to cast their ballots



Filipino expats in Dubai wait outside the Philippines Consulate to cast their vote. Photo: Neeraj Murali
Filipino expats in Dubai wait outside the Philippines Consulate to cast their vote. Photo: Neeraj Murali

By Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Sun 10 Apr 2022, 3:49 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Apr 2022, 9:45 PM

The atmosphere at the Philippines Consulate in Dubai on Sunday morning was festive and cheerful as registered Filipino voters in the UAE went to the polls today.

Hundreds of registered voters began queueing up as early as 6:30am to exercise their legislative rights as the month-long overseas voting procedure for the Philippines presidential elections began this morning.

By around 9am, the queues were several kilometres long and Dubai Police was present to ensure discipline.

The overseas absentee voting (OAV) in the UAE will see up to 308,779 Filipino expats cast their ballots to elect the next leaders in their homeland.

"I am really excited to be voting for the first time," said Aileen Portin. "I have voted in the Philippines before, but I am voting from here for the first time. I am impressed by all the preparations to ensure that the voting goes smoothly.

"In the Philippines, voting happens only one day, so the crowds are huge. I like the electric atmosphere of those crowds, but to be honest, I prefer voting here as it is so organized and streamlined."

Photo by Neeraj Murali.
Photo by Neeraj Murali.

As the poll observers arrived, they signed in and were briefed about their responsibilities.

For Albin R Frasco, this was his third time donning the role. "I first started doing it in 2016," he said. "I am very passionate about my country and want the best for the Philippines. That is why I am here. I will come every day for 6-8 hours until May 9 to fulfil my duty as a poll watcher. I arrange my shifts according to my work timings, and I am really looking forward to helping out as much as possible."

Photo by Neeraj Murali.
Photo by Neeraj Murali.

The process to ensure that the voting systems were free of errors commenced at around 8am.

At the end of a vocal countdown, volunteers printed vote number receipts verified to be at 0 and then signed by pre-appointed witnesses.

After the inspection of the ten voting machines, the national anthem was played, followed by a speech by the Consul General Renato Dueñas Jr.

Angelo and Joanna Candari turned up early with their little daughter.

"We are travelling very soon," Joanna said. "So we wanted to exercise our right to vote before we left. I hope that the person I voted for will win and bring in a good future for the Philippines. I believe that he will help the poorest of the poor and positively impact the country."

First set of voters cast their ballot at the Philippines Consulate. Photo by Neeraj Murali.
First set of voters cast their ballot at the Philippines Consulate. Photo by Neeraj Murali.

Nine candidates will contest this year's presidential elections, with Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the late Philippine dictator, being a favourite to win. Trailing him closely in opinion polls is Vice President Leni Robredo. Boxing legend Sen. Manny Pacquiao is also contesting.

"There is a keen interest in this year's elections among the Filipino community," said Consul General Renato Dueñas Jr. "That is evident in the number of registered voters. I want to

encourage people to vote early and not wait until the last minute so that we can avoid unnecessary crowding."

Filipino expats in Dubai wait outside the Philippines Consulate to cast their vote. Photo: Neeraj Murali
Filipino expats in Dubai wait outside the Philippines Consulate to cast their vote. Photo: Neeraj Murali

This post-pandemic election has registered a decline in registered Filipino voters worldwide. Observers attribute it to the pandemic, which rendered many overseas workers jobless, forcing them to return home.

The overseas voting process will run every day until May 8 from 8am to 9pm. On the last day of voting, May 9, voting will close at 3pm.

Registered voters can cast their vote at the Dubai PCG or Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and the Philippines Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

ALSO READ:

Poll Watchers- box

  • Twelve registered Filipino groups will send in their poll watchers to the elections happening in the UAE.
  • One member of every group will be present at the voting premise at all times.
  • Poll watchers are not allowed to wear any campaigning material.
  • At any point, if a poll watcher suspects an election fraud, they can file a dispute against a person.

Process of Voting- BOX

  • Check if your name is included in the Certified List of Voters (CLOV) through the consulate's website
  • Present Emirates ID/ Passport/ any valid ID at the counter. Come prepared to wait for long periods.
  • Enter the voting premises. Ensure not to wear any caps or hats. Masks must be worn. Photography or videography is forbidden within this area.
  • Collect the voting sheet, make your choice and feed it to the voting machine.

nasreen@khaleejtimes.com


More news from UAE