MANILA Several senators on Monday urged Filipino voters abroad to exercise their right to suffrage by participating in the overseas absentee voting.
Senator Joel Villanueva said the law on absentee voting would allow Filipinos working abroad and public servants on election duty to exercise their right to vote.
"In a democracy such as ours, elections are the highest form of political exercise. For too long a time, Filipinos working overseas and public servants on election duty could not exercise their right to suffrage, so we worked with members of Congress to pass the law on absentee voting," Villanueva said.
"Kaya po hinihikayat natin ang ating mga kababayan sa ibang bansa na makilahok sa halalan (We are encouraging Filipinos abroad to participate in the elections). Our government reflects our values and principles as a nation. Let's exercise our right to vote so that our elected officials shall truly reflect our sentiments as a people," he added.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said the Commission on Elections should put out public pronouncement for overseas Filipinos to vote and inform them that the voting period has started.
Senator Sonny Angara, meanwhile, suggested to increase the number of polling places or precincts for overseas voting.
"'Yan ang usually complaint ng kababayan natin. Malayo ang lugar, hindi sila makapunta. (Those are the usual complaints of Filipinos [abroad]. The polling places are too far, not accessible). So maybe in the larger countries with larger Filipino communities we could study the possibility of more polling places," Angara said.
The OAV for the 2019 mid-term polls started on April 13, 2019 and will end on May 13, 2019.
Over 1.8 million registered Filipino voters abroad are expected to participate in the event.
Data from the Comelec-OFOV show a total of 1,822,173 overseas absentee voters.
There are various modes in casting their votes under the OAV automated voting using the vote counting machines, manual voting through posting, and personal voting.
Filipinos abroad are only selecting candidates for national positions, 12 senators and one party-list group. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency