10 April 2010
She was the first to hold the official ballot of the automated election scheme, the first to use the designated pen and the first to feed the valid ballot in the PCOS. Her vote went to the progressives.
It was a flurry of firsts for Rowena dela Cruz, the first to cast the overseas absentee vote in Hong Kong, albeit for the second time around. As the first voter in 2007, she said that she stayed throughout the night to make sure that she will still be the first in line to vote for this year’s polls.
“Panata ko na ito. Noong 2007, gusto ko ang unang boto para sa party-list ay sa GABRIELA. (This is my pledge. Last 2007, I wanted the first party-list vote to go to GABRIELA.),” she said. That year, GABRIELA topped the party-list elections in Hong Kong and in the whole OAV.
“Ngayon na first time na automated ang OAV, gusto ko naman na ang unang boto sa pagka-senador ay para sa aking mga idol na sina Satur at Liza. (Now that the OAV is automated for the first time, I wanted to have the first vote for senators to go to my idols Satur [Ocampo] and Liza [Maza] are running for senators),” she said as she believes in the ‘politics of change’ that said senatoriables and the the party-list GABRIELA espouse.
“Of course, I also voted for Manny Villar and Loren Legarda because they were the only candidates who endorsed and committed to advance the progressive platform of Makabayan that Satur and Liza represent,” she stated.
The said platform included, among others, respect for human rights, review of pro-foreigners economic policies and the prosecution of corrupt officials of the current administration.
Dela Cruz, domestic worker and vice president of Migrante Hong Kong, also stated that it is important to encourage Filipino migrant workers to vote in this election as it is the chance of OFWs to have a voice even up to the Senate for their various concerns.
Meanwhile, Gabriela chapter in Hong Kong chairperson, Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, commended dela Cruz for her commitment to push for meaningful reforms for women, migrant workers and their families.
“It is a feat to be the first overseas voter to try on the automated polls. It is even more commendable that she does this as part of her advocacy for change and for candidates who carry this agenda,” Abdon-Tellez added.
Dela Cruz remarked that while she is dedicated to make the elections work for the benefit of OFWs, she also remains “vigilant’ as there have been doubts cast on the AES and even the credibility of the Commission on Elections.
“We have fought for our right to vote as OFWs. Magiging mapagbantay kami sa aming boto dahil ayaw naming ng isang automated Garci. (We shall remain watchful of our votes for we do not want an automated Garci to happen.)” dela Cruz stated.
Gabriela’s Abdon-Tellez urged all the almost 96,000 registered voters in Hong Kong to troop to the polls and cast their votes. In the past two OAVs, Hong Kong topped the list of countries with the most turnout of voters.
“The significant voter’s turnout in Hong Kong does not only show that we take to heart our right to vote. More importantly, it shows that we are ready to engage in different arena of struggle to bring about the change we want to achieve,” she concluded.
Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, chairwoman, Gabriela-HK
Rowena dela Cruz