Give Filipino staff break to vote, partylist official says as overseas vote in Middle East hits first weekend

Estimated read time 6 min read

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Filipino overseas vote in Middle East enters first weekend

 

DOHA – A Filipino partylist official urged companies in the Middle East to allow Filipino employees time off work to vote in the Philippine elections during the weekdays.

“This would certainly fill in the voting gaps during the week days thus helping reserve the voting opportunity to those who can only vote during weekends come Friday and Saturday, and Sunday for some countries,” Doha-based Joseph Timothy Rivera, AKO OFW partylist Vice Chairman for Overseas Affairs, told Expatmedia.net.

This came as the ongoing overseas absentee voting of Filipinos entered its first weekend in the Middle East, with thousands of Filipino expatriates casting their ballots ahead of the May 9 Philippine National and Local Elections.

ALSO READ: 1,391 Filipinos vote in Dubai on first day of overseas voting

Rivera called on Filipino overseas voters to cast their vote during week days in order to avoid the weekend rush, and encouraged Filipinos to request for a day-off from their companies during regular working days to avoid the weekend outpour.

Long queues of voters were seen outside several Philippine diplomatic posts during the weekend, despite rising temperatures of up to 34C in Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia, according to observers.

Citing reports from poll observers, Rivera said that voters were seen queueing outside Philippine Embassies in Doha in Qatar; Manama in Bahrain, and Muscat in Oman.

“There were also significant lines of voters the International Philippine School of Al-Khobar and the special polling places in Al Hasar, Saudi Arabia. In fact, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh extended the voting hours to 8pm on Friday since a lot of voters were still lining up outside the embassy gates as late as 5pm. High voter turn-out was also reported in our Philippine Embassies in Bahrain, Kuwait and Tel Aviv, but with no line overflow beyond the embassy gates,” Rivera said.

“We expect similar surges in the same places and in other polling places with personal automated voting such as Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Brunei, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Macao and Taipei,” he added.

The 30-day overseas absentee voting for Filipinos started last April 10 and is due to end on May 9, the scheduled election day in the Philippines. DHQ/Expat Media

ALSO READ: Philippine Consulate in Dubai opens to registered Filipino voters from other countries


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