Overseas voting posts 9% turnout only

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE –Only 9 percent of the total registered voters overseas have cast their votes, with only six days to go before the end of absentee voting on May 14, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Claro Cristobal urged the rest of Filipino workers overseas to go to one of the 88 posts to exercise their right of suffrage on or before the last day of election.

Cristobal said that as of 5 a.m. yesterday, 44,976 Filipino workers have voted, representing only 8. 92 percent of the 540,110 Filipino voters abroad.

There are 8 million Filipino workers abroad but only 504,110 are registered voters.

During the press briefing, Cristobal said that out of the 44,976 who voted: 31,969 were by personal voting, while 11,675 by mail. A total of 1,332 Filipino workers also cast their votes through modified voting by mail.

Based on the department’s record gathered worldwide, Hong Kong and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia still have the highest number of votes cast.

“We are so heartened by the show of support we have been receiving not just from among the Filipino community members, but also from the employers,” Cristobal said.

“We have been encouraging all embassies and consul generals of the Philippines not to spare any effort to encourage our people to vote.”

Philippine embassies and consulates have intensified their campaign to convince Filipino workers to vote.

“The closer we get to the day of the elections itself, our people are becoming more and more sensitive to the importance of participating in this very quintessential activity of democracy,” Cristobal said. “I would believe that we can produce a good number on the last elections day.”

Meanwhile, the department said that on personal voting, Hong Kong led with 12,737; followed by Riyadh with 5,039; Jeddah, 2,890; and Al Khobar, 2,844.

Singapore topped the voting by mail with 2,882; Brunei, 825; San Francisco, 824; Meco, Taipei, 790. Modified voting by mail had 551 in Milan and 365 in Rome.