Filipinos vote at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai on April 13, 2019.
PHOTO BY JMYDS/EXPAT MEDIA
DUBAI – Voters flocked to polling stations at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Philippine Consulate General in Dubai as the overseas absentee voting for the Philippine National Elections opened on Saturday (April 13).
The early voting period for Filipinos abroad extends until May 13, the election day in the Philippines. Registered voters will be electing 12 senators and one party-list group.
There are a total of 1,822,173 overseas absentee voters around the world, according to the data from the Philippine Commission on Election Office for Overseas Voting.
The Middle East and African region has the highest number of registered voters with 887,744. In the UAE, there are more than 300,000 registered voters, with more than 109,0000 listed in Abu Dhabi and 209, 862 registered in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
As of 2pm on Saturday, Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes described the voter turnout as “sparse” compared to the previous election, but the official hoped that the number of voters will improve as the days roll. He said that the target is 2,169 voters per day.
Earlier on Saturday, poll officials and watchdogs were among those who flocked to polling stations at least two hours ahead of the 8am opening.
Speaking to expatmedia.net ahead of the election, Rene Amante, a first-time volunteer poll watcher, said that the election is “a good chance for us to make a difference in electing the right people into office.”
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” and urged everyone to uphold clean elections and participate in the polling process.
Meanwhile, Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes urged Filipinos to exercise their right to vote.
“All these play into our strategy to make our country and make our people a great country and a great people that we already are,” Cortes told expatmedia.net.
Anselma Empleo, a UAE resident in the last 14 years, said she is excited to participate in the overseas absentee voting this time, believing that positive changes are afoot in the Philippines.
Empleo has also volunteered 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.
All eyes will undoubtedly be on 17 vote counting machines in the UAE, with 11 in Dubai and six in Abu Dhabi. One machine can store up to 20,000 ballots.
The first day of the overseas absentee voting in the UAE was relatively peaceful, with no reported incident except for a machine that registered an error message. Consulate officials said the machine was replaced with a back-up machine. JMYDS/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: 9am to 5pm (Due to demand of voters, the Comelec on April 13 instructed all foreign service posts to open on these religious holidays)
April 20-May 12: 9am to 5pm
May 13: 6am to 2pm
Philippine Consulate Dubai
April 13 to May 12: 8am to 9pm
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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