Internet voter registration system rolled-out for Filipinos in Asia Pacific

The Filipino Australian Staff
June 17, 2015

MANILA — The online system for voter registration, iREHISTRO, is now implemented in Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) missions in the Asia Pacific Region, the DFA announced recently.

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The system is a collaboration of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the DFA Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) which provides another way of accomplishing forms for voter registration related process.iREHISTRO is available in the following Foreign Service Posts (FSPs): Philippine Embassies in Bangkok, Brunei, Canberra, Dhaka, Dili, Hanoi, Islamabad, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Singapore, Vientiane, Wellington, Yangon plus the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Osaka and Sydney.

“iREHISTRO is a historical evolution of the Philippine electoral process,” the DFA-OVS said.

Prospective applicants still have to appear personally at Foreign Service Posts or Mobile/Field registration sites, to sign and submit their duly accomplished printed form, and for biometrics capturing. In addition, the processed applications still have to be approved by the Resident Election Registration Board (RERB).

The COMELEC and DFA-OVS tested the technology last November 2014 in the Philippine Embassy in Madrid, Spain. The test was concluded in January 2015 with successful results.

Following the successful testing in Madrid, the COMELEC approved the implementation of iREHISTRO for the entire Foreign Service.

Regional training for Voter Registration Machine Operators in the Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Americas region has recently been completed.

Overseas Filipinos in the Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa region now have the option of filling up the forms from the comfort of their homes, workplace, internet café, or anywhere they have access to reliable internet connection.

The optional appointment feature of the system allows for better time management since it provides them an easy way to schedule their personal appearance at a FSP or Mobile/Field registration site.

FSPs also benefit from iREHISTRO. The optional appointment system if and when used can accurately inform the Post on how many registrants to expect on a given day, thus giving them a heads up on how to adjust for the walk-ins.

In addition, planning for outreach and Akyat Barko activities is made easier by the advance and relatively accurate head count. Efficiency is enhanced due to faster processing time resulting to potentially more registrants per day, with higher “customer satisfaction”.

All Filipino citizens who expect to be in the Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa during the thirty day (April 9 – May 9) overseas voting period for the 2016 national elections, at least 18 years old on  May 9, 2016, and not otherwise disqualified by law may now go to or to access the iREHISTRO System to register as an overseas voter.

The voter registration period ends on October 31, 2015.

The Filipino Australian Staff
June 17, 2015


Maria Castaneda, Global FWN100™ '14, Honored by New York Immigration Coalition


Filipina Women's Network (FWN)*|RSSFEED%3ADATE|*&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_43e2304caa-677fc45368-341672113&goal=0_43e2304caa-677fc45368-341672113&mc_cid=677fc45368&mc_eid=5217a3ee44

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"I just want to use my organization, my position, to inspire other Filipinos, other women, other workers to step up because we have so much to do as immigrants. We have to win immigration reform," Maria Castaneda said. Photo credit: GMA Network.

Maria Castaneda, 119SEIU Healthcare Workers East Secretary-Treasurer, received an award from New York Immigration Coalition during their 2015 Gala for her role as a driving force for immigrants and workers rights through her union. Maria Castaneda is the highest ranking Asian American woman labor leader in the U.S.

Upon accepting the award, Ms. Castaneda said, "I am honored to be recognized by the New York Immigration Coalition, whose work bringing a broad range of stakeholders to the table to advance immigrant rights is critical. 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is a proud member of the Coalition. With over 400,000 members, many of whom are immigrants, in New York State, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, Maryland and the District of Columbia, we are the largest local union in the world. In our work to improve and expand quality patient care, and protect the lives of our members and their families, immigrant rights is at the forefront of our mission. I accept this award knowing that together we will continue to fight for immigrant rights because it will improve our economy and raise standards for all working people."

Castaneda said immigrant rights are at the forefront of her mission and wants to use her organization and position to inspire other Filipinos, other women, other workers to step up because we have to win immigration reform.

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill as well as President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, are all on hold. But Castaneda said she remains hopeful.

"Yes, it is frustrating because the DACA and DAPA are really good for the community, giving immigrants the rights to have work authorization. It’s really good for the community," she said.

Castaneda said she plans to continue to fight for immigrant rights because she believes that it will not only help the economy, it will also raise the living standards for all working people in the US.


Filipina Women's Network (FWN)*|RSSFEED%3ADATE|*&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_43e2304caa-677fc45368-341672113&goal=0_43e2304caa-677fc45368-341672113&mc_cid=677fc45368&mc_eid=5217a3ee44


TFC and DFA Join Hands Anew To Encourage OFs To Exercise Their Right To Vote In The 2016 Elections

10The officers of ABCBN Global Ltd and DFA OVsMR

TFC hopes to engage more overseas Filipinos via DFA - OVS and COMELEC’s online registration irehistro via a public service announcement featuring news personality Atom Araullo

August 28, 2015 (Quezon City) – With the deadline for the worldwide registration for the 2016 elections coming to a close on October 31, premier Filipino network The Filipino Channel (TFC) and implementing arm of the Overseas Voting Act, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Overseas Voting Secretariat (OVS) join hands anew to propagate the overseas Filipino’s (OF) right to vote.

TFC and DFA – OVS, partners since the 2013 elections, recently entered into a memorandum of agreement on August 26 at the ABS-CBN Corporation headquarters in Eugenio Lopez Jr. Communications Center (ELJCC) in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines to renew their commitment.

Managing Director for Asia Pacific of ABS-CBN Global Ltd. Philippine Branch Ailene Averion, says “TFC’s journey with OFs starts from the time he departs from the homeland and settles in his second home. In their quest to give their families the best life possible, TFC provides the company of a Kapamilya through information and entertainment across our content platforms. But beyond the physical and the necessary, we transcend roles and help our kababayans realize and act on what they can do for their country.” Averion further says “We concretize this by helping key government agency DFA OVS in its aim to reach out to Filipinos of voting age who can elect their next leaders by registering and exercising their right to vote.”

Since 2012, TFC has been laying out its platforms for the promotion of the OV act. 
The network opened its events for on-site registration efforts and tapped no less than personalities such as Boy Abunda, Pokwang, Sam Milby, Eric Santos and Piolo Pascual to banner the 2012 campaign and Ted Failon, Atom Araullo, Maan Macapagal, Robi Domingo and Kim Chiu to headline the 2013 campaign.

Through concerted efforts of both public and private sector, the 2012 registration reached a milestone when it hit nearly a million total registered voters. Moreover, in April of 2015, TFC’s campaign “Boto Mo, Kinabukasan ng Bawat Pilipino” earned a Silver Award from the prestigious 20th Anvil Awards held in Manila, for effective public relations communications.

According to DFA-OVS Chairperson Undersecretary Rafael Seguis credits the 85 posts all over the world for bringing the 2012 numbers to fore but he says media’s role is important and TFC’s contribution, undeniable. Seguis says “The most important thing for us is for media to create awareness. Thank you to ABS-CBN TFC for this kind of arrangement that will help create this kind of awareness for OV. We have similar arrangements in the past but not of this magnitude. Now we will be reaching even Africa because of TFC’s reach and popularity.”

Recently, DFA OVS reported a milestone as records showed that new registrants have reached the 600,000 mark, bringing the new total to 608,516. With this milestone, DFA OVS is pursuing more efforts to reach more Filipinos.

To date, DFA OVS and COMELEC have opened a total of 13 overseas registration centers (OVRC) in the Philippines to reach Filipinos who are about to leave for overseas whether on a permanent or temporary basis. These are the DFA Regional Consular Office in Davao, San Fernando Pampanga, and Cebu; and DFA Satellite Offices in Robinsons Galleria, SM Manila and Ali Mall; DFA Office of Consular Affairs in ASEAN Business Park in Paranaque; NAIA Terminals 1 to 3 in Pasay City, POEA in Ortigas, Mandaluyong, and Philippine Transmarine Carriers Inc. in Makati City, Marina at Kalaw City, Manila and CFO in Osmeña in Manila; and OWWA Training Center in Intramuros where ABS-CBN Middle East, Europe and Africa News Bureau Chief Danny Buenafe and Head of News Gathering Dindo Amparo personally registered themselves during the launch.

Moreover, DFA OVS and COMELEC OFOV completed the global accessibility of the internet voter registration when it launched in Asia Pacific on August 6, enabling more Filipinos of voting age to participate in the 2016 elections.

With the partnership, DFA – OVS hopes to reach more Filipinos. For the 2015 campaign, TFC unveiled a public service announcement led by Red Alert and Umagang Kay Ganda host Atom Araullo, that aims to convince the OFs to register employing through the irehistro. Filipinos of voting age by the time of the 2016 elections, can visit, print their completed forms and go to the nearest Philippine post (Philippine Embassy, Consulate General, Mission, or Manila Economic and Culture Office [MECO]), field / mobile voting centers such a TFC events for their biometrics.

Deadline for overseas voting registration is on October 31, 2015 while the voting period for the 2016 Presidential Elections is from April to May 9, 2015. For more information visit and www. 
Watch out for more updates via TFC’s community board Global Post (What’s Up in the Middle East), Balitang Global and facebook pages worldwide.





Filipina Harvard Grad: 'Go Abroad, Then Come Home'

'Filipinos should have the opportunity to leave, but should then come back with the skill sets and expertise they’ve acquired'


by: Danielle Limcaoco

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IVY LEAGUE. Michi Ferreols graduates from Harvard University. Photo from Facebook

MANILA, Philippines – Nowadays, many balikbayans find themselves asking: “Should we stay here, or return to the Philippines?”

Michi Ferreol focused on this common, yet perplexing, dilemma, in her 2013 TedxTalk. She discussed the Philippine Diaspora and its resulting “brain drain,” and concluded that Filipinos should have the opportunity to leave, but should then come back with the skill sets and expertise they’ve acquired.

A recent graduate from Harvard University, Michi works hard to put her words into action. To help other Filipinos have the opportunity to study abroad and become a balikbayan, she, along with two other friends, started CAMP (College Admission Mentors for Peers in the Philippines).

According to Michi, “CAMP was created to provide more resources and assistance to young Filipinos to apply to colleges abroad, no matter their socioeconomic status.”

What initially started as a simple Facebook forum, turned into a full-fledged organization that runs an internship program, a mentorship program, and a yearly conference.

In fact, in 2014, CAMP’s mentees received over 78 acceptances from 50 different colleges and universities from around the world, such as Princeton University, Dartmouth University, and Boston College. Currently, CAMP is working closely with educationUSA and to help further their goals.

Speaking from experience, Michi believes in the importance of learning overseas and honing one’s skills. By helping them achieve their dreams, Michi believes that they can help inspire the “Filipino youth to dream big about their futures by weaving together communities of students who are eager to do something of impact.”

Although she was busy in Harvard and had to learn how to manage time zones, deal with flurries of emails, and secretly do CAMP tasks in class, Michi claims it never felt like “work,” because it “gave [her] an opportunity to remain connected to the Philippines even whilst abroad.”

Michi as a balikbayan

Undeniably, Michi practices what she preaches. She studied in Harvard to acquire new skills sets and knowledge, to later apply to the Philippines once she returns home.

Michi dubbed her Harvard years as the “best 4 years" of "so far.”

"Being surrounded by intelligent, talented, and passionate people 24 hours, 7 days a week ignited a fire in my belly that I know will forever burn strong," she said.

But more than just inspiring, her years there were also practical. She used the things that she learned in class and about American culture to inform her understanding and approach to the Philippines.

"[I] really tried to create meaningful impact by using what was at my disposal to possibly lift the Philippines to greater heights," she said.

More so, she remained tethered to her Filipina identity by gravitating towards activities and projects that would help her share with the Harvard community everything she loved about the Philippines.

Michi “definitely, definitely” hopes to return to the Philippines in the future. And with her, she plans to bring back “new strategies and innovations to the way we do teaching and learning in our public schools.”

Although she plans to continue studying in the US, she aims to learn more about the different models of education and what may best apply in the Philippine context. “That way,” Michi asserts, “when I return, I’ll be in a position to be of as great help and impact as possible.”

Specifically, she wants to learn about “technology in classrooms, project-based learning, enhanced teacher training, and possibly a chain of schools similar to charter schools in the USA with high-quality education at a low cost.”

To Michi, being a balikbayan doesn’t mean living abroad. It means staying overseas and learning as much as possible to make herself become the best version of herself, so that when she comes back to the Philippines, she can make the greatest impact.

So should she stay or leave? It's a given for Ferreols. She will be home. –


by: Danielle Limcaoco


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