DFA cuts by half target turnout for overseas voting
Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis on Thursday said the government cut into half its turnout target for overseas voting—from one million or 80 percent of total registered voters to 500,000—due to the lack of enthusiasm on the part of Filipinos abroad.
Ten days before the May 9 deadline for overseas voting, the turnout remains low at 200,262 as of April 28 or 14.55 percent of the total 1.37 million registered voters, according to Seguis.
“We are still hoping to reach as high as 500,000 voters turnout by May 9,” he told the Inquirer.
Seguis, who chairs the Overseas Voting Secretariat of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said heads of embassies and consulates have yet to explain the decimal votes in their respective jurisdictions.
Asked whether ambassadors and consul generals have responded to the DFA memo on the decimal turnout of votes, Seguis said they are “very silent” about the very low voter turnout.
Filipinos in America remain the least enthusiastic to vote in the May elections as the voters turnout is still the lowest at 15,656 or 5.68 percent of 275,729 registered voters.
Filipino workers in Arab and African countries showed the highest enthusiasm with 90,372 voters turnout or 15.22 percent of the total 593,772 registered voters.
In terms of percentage, Filipinos in the Asia Pacific, particularly those in Hong Kong and Singapore, have the highest voters turnout with 73,766 or 21.39 percent of the total 344,848 registered voters.
In Europe, the voters turnout reached 20,468 or 12.66 percent of the total 161,718 registered voters.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago renewed his call to Filipino voters in the oil-rich country to cast their ballots before the May 9 deadline for overseas voting.
He noted that enthusiasm among Filipino voters is high on the social media but it has not translated into high voters turnout in voting centers in Saudi Arabia.
“I was initially encouraged by the fervent enthusiasm of many Filipinos about this year’s national elections as represented on social media. Unfortunately, increased activity on social media does not elect national leaders. I challenge all overseas voters to go out and cast their votes as soon as possible and before May 9,” said Ambassador Tago in a statement issued by the DFA.
The Philippine embassy in Moscow has allowed Filipino overseas voters to cast their ballots there even if they were registered in Hong Kong.
The new Commission on Elections rule provides that all Filipino registered overseas voters with active status may vote in any of the embassies and consulates near their current residence or work.
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