A worker stockpile ballot boxes at the Commission on Elections office in Manila. File / AFP
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
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.
Meanwhile, media accredited to cover the electoral process also have to abide by the “Rules of Conduct” set forth by Manila’s Commission on Elections (Comelec) “pursuant to Section 10 of Resolution No. 10498 (Guidelines for the Media Accreditation in Connection with the Conduct of the Overseas Absentee Voting) as a continuing requirement for accreditation.”
The rules are stipulated in the “Certificate of Accreditation” which accredited reporters and photojournalists had signed upon the receipt of their media badges:
*Not more than three media representatives shall be allowed inside the polling place at any one time.
*Upon entry into the polling places or canvassing area, media representatives shall immediately identify themselves to the Special Ballot Reception and Custody Groups, Special Board of Election Inspectors or Special Board of Canvassers by presenting their media cards.
*Unprofessional activities shall not be tolerated. These are any disruptive behaviour on the conduct of voting, counting, or canvassing such as, but not limited to conducting interviews inside the polling place or canvassing centre; engaging in partisan political activities; any behaviour with the intention of influencing the choice of voters; distributing campaign materials, and any behaviour deemed unlawful.
Excluding volunteers, approximately 81 Manila government men and women assigned at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi (AUHPE) and Philippine Consulate General in Dubai (PCGDXB), plus four staff at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office also in the capital, will be serving as the Comelec-assigned personnel during the OAV.
Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes in Dubai said the PCGDXB officers and men will be present at the 11 polling precincts from 8am to 9pm every day, except on April 18 and 19, the Christian holidays of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively, “on top of the services” to the other clients of the post.
AUHPE Second Secretary/Consul Rowena Pangilinan-Daquipil WhatsApp-ed to Gulf Today: “Tuloy-tuloy po ang trabaho kahit may (work continues even with the) OAV.”
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).
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.
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