The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
DUBAI: Registered Filipino voters in the UAE are encouraged to exercise their right to suffrage at the April 13 to May 13 Philippine general-local elections even if they do not have any voter identification (ID) cards issued by Manila’s Commission on Elections (Comelec). They just have to present their valid Philippine passport or Emirates national ID card.
The Philippine Consulate General in Dubai (PCGDXB) issued an announcement regarding this matter and uploaded it over its website and Facebook account on March 26.
Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes forwarded the announcement to the media on Monday.
As the OAV nears, some Filipinos have expressed concern over two things: whether they can still register and cast their vote at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi or at the PCGDXB, and how they may vote when they have not been notified about the availability of their Comelec voter ID cards.
On the voter ID cards, the PCGDXB advisory carried the Dec.20, 2017 notification of Comelec on its website: “(Comelec) would like to inform the public that the generation and distribution of voter ID cards has been put on hold as a result of the approval of the House of Representatives of a bill seeking to establish a national identification system, which proposes only one ID for all government transactions.”
That enacted bill on Sept. 8, 2017—with initial proposals way back at the time of the Ramos Administration in the 1990s—was also approved and passed by the Philippine Senate on March 19, 2018. It was signed into law as the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) by President Rodrigo Duterte on Aug.8, 2018. It mandates Filipinos from age 18 all over the world and permanent alien Philippine residents to enrol for their free-of-charge national ID card to be used in all government and private transactions, including registration and voting identification purposes.
Comelec announced on July 2018 it would not issue any voter ID cards.
On the registration, Filipinos who failed to get enlisted on or before September 30, 2018—the last day of the continuing registration for the purpose of the May 13, 2019 election and are therefore not in the list of the Comelec Certified List of Voters—cannot vote.
UAE mainstream media carried news on the Comelec voter registration since 2017 and until a few days before Sept.30, 2018.
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.
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).
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, attended a wedding reception in Ras Al Khaimah.
Egypt’s state news agency said expats have started voting on constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel-Fatah Al Sisi to stay in power until 2030.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, inaugurated the debut edition of “Azyan” Exhibition and Conference at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC), in Sharjah on Thursday. The beauty, fashion and wellness event will run till April 21.