The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
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.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes expressed hope that those scheduled to go on their annual break “first perform their civic duties (cast their votes) before going on extended vacations.”
This was his advice since on Friday, one Sharjah resident asked Gulf Today when he and his wife could possibly vote at the diplomatic mission and whether they could do so in the Philippines where they would be on a short visit until May 9. Husband and wife are registered voters at the PCGDXB since 2012.
On Saturday, the first day of the 31-day overseas voting (OV), Cortes said polling precincts 10 and 11 are open for eight hours from 2 p.m.
These two polling precincts—like precincts one to nine—are manned by three to four persons including their respective chairmen—from among the 57 PCGDXB officers and staff including volunteers—appointed by Manila’s election body, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), as Special Board of Elections Inspectors. Similarly, these two polling precincts are equipped with one automated voting counting machine (VCM) each, which, according to the Comelec rules and regulations must only be operational for eight hours. Thus, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cortes said the scheme had been devised to encourage Comelec-registered office workers from Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujeirah to participate in the electoral process.
The scheme was also thought of as with 209,862, PCGDXB stands as the mission with the most number of certified list of voters for the May 2019 Manila elections. This broadsheet reported on Sunday that according to Comelec-Office for Overseas Voting director Elaiza Sabile-David in Manila, there are 1.8 million registered overseas Filipino voters with 887,744 in the Middle East and Africa; 401,415 in the Asia-Pacific Region; 345,415 in the Americas, and 187,000 in Europe. Cortes expressed confidence the scheme works out.
On Sunday, when asked of the first “night OV,” he Whatsapped: “Proportionately even more than the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is probably due to the work schedules of many Filipinos.”
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.
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.
Registered overseas voters at the Philippine Embassy and at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO-AUH) in Al Qubaisa, Abu Dhabi flowed in continually on Thursday, the sixth day of the 30-day overseas voting (OV) for the May 13 Manila mid-term (legislative-general-local) elections.
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.
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Security was tight, with fans forced to pass through metal detectors. The traditional throwing of cushions to mark an exciting round was prohibited.