As the overseas absentee voting (OAV) period slowly nears its end, some overseas Filipinos have expressed challenges concerning the delivery and receipt of their ballots.
ALSO READ: OFW Guide to Voting in May 2019 Elections
With over a month designated for the purpose of delivery of ballots overseas, it’s quite alarming to learn about issues encountered with the delivery of mail ballots to registered voters based overseas. Despite these challenges, the Department of Foreign Affairs remains upbeat and proactive in dealing with the concerns as they come right even in the middle of the ongoing election period.
DFA Pushes for Fast-Tracking of OAV Process in Missions Overseas
On Friday (April 26), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that it is keeping close coordination with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in order to fast-track the overseas voting process, as shared in a report by the Philippine News Agency.
The announcement came in light of the delay in the mailing of some ballots to overseas voters.
The DFA explained that in the interest of time, they have already authorized the concerned Foreign Service Posts to advance the cost of the remaining postage fees in order to bridge the funding gap while awaiting the remittance from Comelec.
In the meantime, voters who have not yet received their ballots are urged by the agency to contact the Embassy or Consulate General where they registered as voters.
Overseas voters are also encouraged to visit the websites and social media pages of these diplomatic posts to see whether their voting packets were returned to the Embassy or Consulate General.
“Rest assured that the DFA and its Foreign Service Posts are doing everything they can to ensure that no overseas Filipino, who is qualified to vote overseas, is deprived of the right to vote,” the DFA explained.
The overseas absentee voting (OAV) kicked off on April 13 and will run until May 13, when the national elections are set to begin.
Data from the DFA revealed that that around 1,822,115 million overseas Filipinos have been registered for the May 13 elections. Of these, 43% or around 794,286 are newly-registered voters.
In the 2013 elections, the overseas voter turnout was expected to reach 16.11 percent or 118,823 of the total number of registered overseas voters. However, for the 2019 midterm election, the DFA-Overseas Voting Secretariat sees a 30 percent to 50 percent — or about 548,764 to 914,607 — voter turnout.