Thursday, December 17, 2009

OFW voters to reach more than half a million

12/17/2009 | 05:30 PM

Original Story:

The number of registered Filipino overseas absentee voters (OAV) is expected to surpass the half-million mark, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) revealed on Thursday, the eve of the International Migrants Day.

As of December 17, the poll body has approved the registration of 224, 884 overseas voters for next year’s polls in addition to the 364,946 registered OAVs in 2007.

“Ensuring our overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) right to suffrage is the Comelec’s gift to our modern day heroes," Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.

The poll body is also set to automate the balloting for Filipinos in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Since the OAV was signed into law in 2003, figures have not been encouraging.

In the 2004 national elections, only 360,000 of the more than four million qualified overseas Filipinos registered. Of this figure, only 65 percent or 233,092 cast their votes.

In the 2007 midterm elections, at least 145,000 more overseas Filipinos registered to vote but only 81,732 cast their ballots.

The low participation rate has sparked calls for an inquiry by two lawmakers to find out ways of encouraging better participation.

OFW deployment attained a new record level reaching 1,376,823 (+27.8 percent) in 2008, compared to 1,077,623 in 2007. - RJAB, Jr./GMANews.TV

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