Help Guard OFW Votes, Migrant Group Urges FilCom, Fil Orgs

Press Release
1 April 2010

Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East, today urges the Filipino communities and OFWs organizations abroad to help guard OFWs votes as the overseas absentee voting is set to start on April 10, a Saturday.

“We recognized the important role of various Filipino communities and their organizations in nation-building and other worthy endeavor such as their active participation in the periodic elections through the overseas absentee voting by electing principled and responsible officials whom they think capable of effecting the desired change in governance and to the society in general,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said since the overseas absentee voting is soon to start, Filipino communities abroad and their organizations play vital role to the success of the overseas absentee voting.

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“For one, OFWs organizations could very well remind and urge their members who are registered absentee voters to cast their vote during the 1-month absentee voting,” Monterona added.

Monterona said the encouragement and ready support in terms of services provided by OFWs organizations to their members would be of big help that would result to relatively high absentee voters’ turn-out compared to previous overseas absentee voting.

“Not only that, in fact accredited OFWs organizations are allowed to submit designated watchers, 1 per organization, to the post concerned as per OAV law and COMELEC promulgated general instructions,” Monterona added.

Monterona cited COMELEC Resolutions No. 8750 & 8751 outlining general rules in the conduct of manual and electronic overseas absentee voting, counting, canvassing and transmission of results, in which the designated watchers of accredited OFW organizations perform vital role in safeguarding OFWs votes.

Monterona explained political parties, party-list and sectoral organizations fielding candidates are allowed to have their own designated watchers, but watchers from accredited OFWs organizations would be most welcome which interest is safeguarding the OFWs votes.

“It is our fervent hope that the Filipino communities and OFWs organizations are one with us, armed with vigilance and active participation, hand in hand working for an honest, orderly, peaceful, and credible overseas absentee voting,” he added.

“We view that the May 10, 2010 election is a mixture of ‘threat and opportunity’. We would be very careful and vigilant of its threats (killings, violence, vote padding and shaving, failure of elections, etc…), but we should maximize the opportunity the elections would give us like choosing good, principled, and responsible leaders capable of effecting the desired social change,” Monterona.

Monterona said Migrante chapters in the Middle East will officially issue a note calling their members and urging fellow OFWs to cast their votes early and not to waste time especially those who are far from designated polling precincts which are usually located at RP embassies, consular offices, and foreign service establishments.

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator

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