Overseas voters

March 2, 2022 People's Tonight 298 views

THE Filipino electorate goes to the polls anew on May 9 to elect the successor of outgoing President Duterte and thousands of other national and local government officials.

But the country’s overseas voters, mostly migrant workers in the oil-rich Middle East (ME), start voting on April 10 (Sunday), according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The month-long overseas voting ends on May 9, with the overseas Filipinos voting only for national candidates namely president, vice president, senators and a party-list organization.

Numbering 1,697,215, these overseas Filipinos will vote either by mailing their ballots or personally casting their ballots at 93 Philippine diplomatic posts in various parts of the globe.

Of the 1,697,215 overseas voters, 1,677,631 are land-based workers while the remaining 19,584 are seafarers, who are the undisputed “darling” of foreign ship owners.

In fact, foreign ship owners across the globe prefer to employ Filipino sailors, including women, because of their sterling qualities and their sufficient knowledge of English.

Filipinos have acquired a reputation as excellent seamen. They are also known for their ease in accepting shipboard discipline and ability to easily learn and master new jobs.

Records show that nearly half of the 1.6 million overseas voters are in the Middle East and Africa; 450,282, Asia-Pacific; 306,445, North and Latin America; and 153,491, Europe.

Note that only 1,697,215 Filipinos living or working in foreign lands registered as voters for the May 9, 2022 polls compared to the 1,822,173 figure in 2019.

In the view of many people, this is certainly lamentable considering government efforts to encourage our countrymen to exercise their constitutional right of suffrage.