Filipino expats in UAE urged to register to vote for 2016 presidential election

Overseas voter registration for the national elections began on May 6, 2014 and will end on October 31, 2015.

ABU DHABI // Filipino expatriates are being urged to register at their embassy or consulate for their country’s 2016 national elections.

Overseas voter registration for the elections began yesterday and will end on October 31 next year.

“It’s my first time to register as an overseas absentee voter,” said Razel Juan, 32, a hotel receptionist who arrived in the capital six months ago.

“I came here to renew my passport today and found out that I can also sign up for the presidential elections,” she said.

Prospective voters must register in person because biometric data, including facial features, fingerprints and signatures, need to be digitally recorded. They must also bring a copy of their passport.

“Filipinos on UAE tourist visas are allowed to register,” said Roseny Fangco, vice consul at the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi.

“We plan to arrange special weekend registration sessions once we receive another data-capturing machine from the commission on elections in Manila.”

The 2016 elections will be the fifth since Filipinos living overseas were first granted voting rights in 2004. Citizens who have registered previously and voted in the past two polls do not need to register again.

Filipinos who are at least 18 years old on or before the May 19, 2016 elections can vote for a president, vice president, 12 senators and a party-list representative, which represents certain sectors.

Overseas absentee voters have one month to cast their votes from April 9 to May 9, 2016, while those in the Philippines will vote on May 9.

Grace Princesa, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE, said she hoped there would be a better voter turnout among expatriates for 2016.

Of the 21,645 Filipinos who had registered at the embassy, only 3,343 voted in last year’s mid-term elections. Officials said 3,545 of the 55,842 registered voters from Dubai and the Northern Emirates had voted at the consulate.

“Once again, I advise everyone to use this privilege of being able to participate in the polls and elect good leaders,” Ms Princesa said.

“These leaders should have the interest and welfare of overseas Filipinos and their families – and that of the entire Filipino nation – at heart.”

rruiz@thenational.ae

Published: May 6, 2014 04:00 AM

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