The principals of the COMELEC, DFA, CFO and other migrant serving agencies during the MOA Signing on the Establishment of Local Field Registration Centers for Overseas Voting

 

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas is calling all qualified overseas Filipinos to register as overseas voter and participate in the upcoming May 2022 National Elections. This is part of CFO’s commitment in supporting the Commission on Elections and the Department of Foreign Affairs, implement the overseas voting process. In February 2020, CFO Secretary Francisco P. Acosta inked an agreement among migrant serving agencies for the Establishment of Local Field Registration Centers for Overseas Voting. Sec. Acosta said that “the implementation of overseas voting strengthens the democratic system in the Philippines, allowing overseas Filipinos who have been staunch partners in Philippine development and nation-building, to participate in the Philippine elections.”

CFO has been hosting a field office for the overseas voting registration of Filipino emigrants and its other clienteles such as Exchange Visitor Program participants and au pairs since 2008. And though it was temporarily suspended this year due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, CFO continues to encourage its clientele and Filipinos abroad to exercise their political rights in choosing the next set of leaders of the motherland. It has also been making public announcements and posters for the Filipino diaspora about overseas voting. The CFO also supported the COMELEC – Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV), which recently conducted a series of live test runs of various internet voting systems as part of an exploratory study on the use of internet-based technologies for overseas voting in future elections.

Previously, the CFO inked similar agreement with the COMELEC and DFA to host a registration center at the CFO Main Office in Manila. During the last midterm election registration period (2017-2019), CFO and COMELEC were able to register more than 7,300 new overseas voters, the highest among the local field registration centers. The total registered overseas voters as of 2019 is 1.8 million; out of this figure, the total overseas voter turn-out was recorded at 334,928.

These endeavors are in accordance with R.A. No. 10590 (Overseas Voting Act of 2013), where CFO is mandated to assist the COMELEC in supporting the overseas registration and voting processes, and expediting all election activities. CFO strongly lobbied for the passage of the law during the 12th Congress.

Under the law, all citizens of the Philippines based abroad, who are not disqualified by law, at least eighteen (18) years of age on May 9, 2022, and who are registered overseas voters, may vote for President, Vice-President, Senators and Party-List Representatives on April 9 to May 9, 2022. Qualified Filipino citizens who are not registered overseas voters may file their applications for registration at the nearest Philippine embassy/consulate or other registration centers authorized by the COMELEC. COMELEC-OFOV will be accepting applications at the Palacio del Gobernador Building, Intramuros, Manila by appointment . Applicants will be required to follow health protocols to avoid the spread of COVID-19 virus. All types of applications will be accepted, including registration/certification as overseas voter; recapture of biometrics; reinstatement of name; change of name due to marriage or court order; correction of entries; request to withdraw application/certification; reactivation; change or updating of address and other contact information; and updating of photograph and/or signature.

To register, all applicants must personally appear at the designated registration venues for biometrics capturing and applicants must bring the following requirements: 1) photocopy of valid passport; 2) additional proof of Philippine Citizenship, i.e. valid permanent Resident card, valid visa, Notice of Action or Oath of Allegiance; and 3) in case of seafarers, photocopy of Seaman’s Book or other pertinent documents.

Filing of applications for registration started in December 2019 and will end on September 30, 2021. For more information about the overseas voting registration process, visit the official website of the COMELEC-OFOV at https://comelec.gov.ph/?r=OverseasVoting/Registration.

The implementation of overseas voting since 2003 is aimed at strengthening the democratic system in the Philippines and politically empower the overseas Filipinos, who have been staunch partners in Philippine development and nation-building. CFO strongly lobbied for the passage of the law during the 12th Congress.

 

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