Filipinos walk past roadside stalls in Manila. File / AFP
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
DUBAI: Qualified voters for the April 13 to May 13 Philippine mid-term (legislative/general) elections from the UAE are at 318,862 of the total 1,789,823 overseas Filipinos absentee voters (OFAVs) registered with Manila’s Commission on Elections (Comelec).
There are 109,000 overseas absentee voting registrants in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region who would cast their votes at the Philippine Embassy (AUHPE). There are 209,862 in Dubai and the Northern Emirates to cast their votes at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai (PCGDXB).
They are to take part in electing into office the new set of 12 senators and one party-list representative to the 24-seat Philippine Senate and to the 297-seat House of Representatives, respectively, who shall start their tenure of office on June 30, 2019.
They will not cast their votes for the remaining local and regional public offices to be vacated this year. The figures were released separately to the media by the two diplomatic missions on Tuesday, in preparation for the April 6, Saturday, “final testing and sealing” or FTS of the automated vote counting machines (VCMs) to be utilized throughout the month-long electoral process.
Subjected to the FTS or configuration are seven VCMs at the AUHPE and 11 VCMs at the PCGDXB.
AUHPE Second Secretary/Consul Rowena Pangilinan-Daquipil said the other seven VCMs at the AUHPE had been FTS-ed when all the embassy officers and staff went for their OAV training several weeks back.
Officers and members of the registered Filipino organisations in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region are invited to witness the FTS procedures at the AUHPE in Al Qubaisat from 9 a.m. onwards.
Over in Dubai, Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes, stated in his media invitation: “The final testing and sealing is a procedure that hopes to prove to the public that the vote counting machines are properly calibrated to read the actual votes being cast by the voters.”
“The public is invited. This is an open procedure which will hopefully dispel any doubt as to the legitimacy of this (OAV Philippine mid-term elections) exercise,” Cortes also wrote.
Depending on their locations and their numbers, the over 1.7 million OFAVs cast their vote in three ways—manual, postal or through the automated VCMs such as in the UAE.
The FTS procedure, part of the Philippines’ automated elections since 2010, is instituted in the election rules and regulations of Manila’s Comelec to ensure transparency.
Mock elections, in which Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates and accredited media took part, in relation to the month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV) electoral process for the one-day Manila’s Mid-Term (General and Local) Elections on May 13, Monday, were held at the Rizal Hall of the Philippine Consulate General in Al Qusais, Dubai (PCGDXB) on Saturday morning.
Business and consular services will continue at the two Philippine diplomatic missions in the UAE during the 29-day overseas absentee voting (OAV), beginning April 13, Saturday, in relation to the Manila May 13 general-local elections.
Some of the 318,992 registered Filipinos voters in the UAE for Manila’s mid-term elections took advantage of the first day-weekend April 13 to May 13 overseas voting (OV) on Saturday.
The Philippine Consulate General in Al Qusais, Dubai (PCGDXB) has two polling precincts operational until 9 p.m. to accommodate registered Filipino voters who only have evenings as their opportunity to exercise their right to suffrage for Manila’s May 13 mid-term (legislative/general/local) elections.
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