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Filipinos vote at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai on April 13, 2019.

PHOTO BY JMYDS/EXPAT MEDIA


Filipinos in UAE vote at start of Philippine Overseas Absentee Voting

 

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.

Voter turnout

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.

ALSO READ: Filipino poll watchers in UAE call for ‘honest elections’

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


All you need to know about Overseas Absentee Voting

Expatmedia.net talked to the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi to tell us all you need to know about the overseas voting process.

Who can vote?

Any registered voter in Abu Dhabi [and the rest of the UAE] can vote.

My name is not on the list of registered voters. Can I still register?

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.

Where can I find the list of registered voters?

For Dubai and the northern emirates click here

For Abu Dhabi, click on the links below:

Landbased voters
Surnames A – B

Surnames B – C

Surnames C – D

Surnames D – F

Surnames F – J

Surnames J – M

Surnames M – O

Surnames O – R

Surnames S – V

Surnames V – Z

Seafarers

Surnames A – C

Surnames C – I

Surnames I – P

Surnames P – Z

When can I vote?

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

What should I bring and not bring on election day?

– 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.

Voting process at the Embassy

Each registered voter will be assigned a clustered precinct. The Embassy will have six clustered precincts.

  1. Upon entering to the assigned precinct, Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI) will verify if the name of the voter is in the List of Voters with voting records (OVF No. 2A).
  2. If voter identity is verified, voter will sign and affix thumbmark in the List of Voters with voting records (OVF No. 2A).
  3. SBEI Chairman will give some instructions then he or she will issue ballot (placed in a ballot secrecy folder) and will direct voter to the designated voting area.
  4. After voting, voter will proceed to the Vote Counting Machine (VCM) and then insert ballot in the ballot entry slot.
  5. The VCM will issue a voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) which will be read by the voter. After reading, the voter will deposit it in a VVPAT receptacle.
  6. The voter can then leave the room.

Any more do’s and don’ts?

– 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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