Cut in absentee voting list-up budget protested | Inquirer News

Cut in absentee voting list-up budget protested

/ 06:00 AM September 12, 2014

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—An organization of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) protested the removal of the budget for absentee voter registration for OFWs in next year’s budget.

Irish Espanola, spokesperson of the group Migrante-Davao, said depriving the Commission on Elections of funds for the registration would mean disenfranchising millions of OFWs.

The former vice chair of the House appropriations committee, Bienvenido Abante, said the DBM, by removing the budget for the registration, is circumventing the Constitution. “The last I heard, only Congress has the power to pass laws,” he said in a statement.


Espanola, in a phone interview, said removing the budget for OFW registration “adds to the issues that impede OFWs from voting” aside from problems in registering like the distance of embassies from OFWs’ work places or the refusal of their employers to let them register.


In a budget hearing early this month, the Comelec said the original budget request for the overseas absentee voter (OAV) registration was P89.6 million and would serve at least 2.29 million OFWs working in different countries across the globe.

In the 2013 Survey on Overseas Filipinos by the Philippine Statistics Authority, at least 339,660 OFWs are from Mindanao and at least 59,670 of them are from the Davao region.

Espanola said the law on OAV should be respected by the Aquino administration. “OAV is a law and the law guarantees funding for OAV to ensure that our OFWs can vote,” said Espanola.

“Migrant workers in the country, most especially from Davao, condemn the taking away of the budget for OAV registration,” said Espanola.

In his statement, Abante, chair of the Bayan Mamamayan Abante Movement (BMAM), said while OFWs contribute a trillion pesos to the economy, “the DBM is ignoring their contributions, sad proof that this administration does not value those who have done much to prop up our economy.”

He appealed to Vice President Jejomar Binay, also presidential adviser on OFW concerns, to convince his allies in the House to restore the Comelec budget for OAV registration.


Official government data peg the number of registered overseas voters at 737,759. Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: budget, Elections, OFW

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