Volunteer poll watchers meet for a briefing at Dream Palace Hotel in Dubai ahead of the April 13 absentee vote.
PHOTO BY EXPAT MEDIA
DUBAI – As the 31-day overseas absentee voting for Filipinos started across the UAE on Saturday (April 13), volunteer poll watchers encouraged Filipinos to champion clean elections.
The Philippine National Elections will be held on May 13 in the Philippines, but for hundreds of thousands of Filipinos abroad, the overseas voting period will be held for 31 days ahead of the Philippine polls.
Registered voters will be electing 12 senators and one party-list group during the overseas election. The UAE has one of the world’s highest number of registered Filipino voters, with more than 109,0000 listed in Abu Dhabi and 209, 862 in Dubai and the northern emirates.
“This is a good chance for us to make a difference in electing the right people into office,” Rene Amante, a first-time volunteer poll watcher, told expatmedia.net.
The Dubai resident urged Filipinos in the UAE to participate in the absentee vote and called for everyone to uphold clean elections.
Amante vowed to use his position as a poll watcher to protect the integrity of the vote and ensure that “the result of the election is honest, that there will be no cheating.”
Anselma Empleo, a UAE resident in the last 14 years, said she has only participated in the overseas absentee voting twice within that period but that she was compelled to be more active this time and also volunteer as a poll watcher.
“I want to make sure that there will be no untoward incidents during the elections, and I want to see people vote for the candidates they like and trust,” Empleo told expatmedia.net in Filipino.
Under the guidelines of the Philippine Commission on Election, poll watchers are recognized as “partners of the commission in implementing the overseas voting”.
According to Comelec, poll watchers “assist in organizing, managing or operating the voting centres including field and mobile voting” and provide assistance to registered voters during the voting process.
They may also “assist, and intervene in appropriate cases in all stages of the electoral exercise and to prevent any and all forms of fraud and coercion”.
Members of Filipino groups and non-government organisations were given until March 31 to apply for accreditation as poll watchers. GAD/Expat Media
Expatmedia.net talked to the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi to tell us all you need to know about the overseas voting process.
Any registered voter in Abu Dhabi [and the rest of the UAE] can vote.
The registration for overseas voting has closed last September 30, 2018. It actually lasted for 22 months (December 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018). If you are not on the list, you have to wait for the next round of Overseas Voting registration to be able to register.
The next round of registration is definitely a few months after the elections. Appropriate advisory will be disseminated by the Embassy in this regard.
For Abu Dhabi, click on the links below:
Surnames A – B
Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi
April 13: 8am to 4pm
April 14-17: 9am to 5pm
April 18-19: voting suspended
April 20-May 12: 9am to 5pm
May 13: 6am to 2pm
Philippine Consulate Dubai
April 13 to May 12: 8am to 9pm (except April 18 and 19)
May 13: 6am to 2pm
– You should bring any form of identification.
– No person carrying firearms or deadly weapons would be allowed in the precincts.
– Although we do not prohibit bringing cellphones in voting precincts, it is important to note that voters are not allowed to take photos of their ballots or take photos at the precincts.
Each registered voter will be assigned a clustered precinct. The Embassy will have six clustered precincts.
– There should be no crowding of voters or disorderly behavior.
– Voter cannot be accompanied by anybody in accomplishing the ballot, except for illiterate or Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
– Voter is not allowed to speak with anyone while accomplishing his or her ballot.
– Intentionally tearing, defacing or erasing any printing on the ballot or putting any distinguishing mark is strictly prohibited.
– It is also not allowed to exhibit contents of the ballot to any person or bring the ballot outside designated area for voting.
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