The Department of Foreign Affairs – Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) announced today 22 February 2017, that DFA-OVS and COMELEC-OFOV have signed tripartite memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for the continuing registration/certification of qualified overseas Filipinos, that resumed on 01 December 2016 and will end on 30 September 2018, for purposes of the 2019 elections.
The said agreement will allow the said agencies to jointly establish a Pre-Departure Registration Center for departing Overseas Filipinos, by providing an accessible overseas voter registration facility for them.
In addition, the DFA-OVS plans to open registration centers at the DFA Office of Consular Affairs (OCA), ASEANA; DFA Satellite Offices in SM Manila, Robinsons Galleria, and in Alabang; and in DFA Regional Consular Offices in Davao, Cebu, and Pampanga within the next couple of months.
The overseas voter registration in preparation for the 2016 elections netted a cumulative total of 1,376,067 active registered overseas voters. The 826,881 new registrants for the 2016 elections, was more than a 100% increase over the 398,554 new registrants for the 2013 elections.
Of the almost 1.4 million registered overseas voters, 590,440 were in the Middle East and Africa, 334,215 in the Asia Pacific, 263,316 in the Americas, 138,757 in Europe, and 49,339 were Seabased.
“Should the Congress of the Philippines be able to finalize, vote and approve the proposed constitutional amendments, we are prepared and ready to conduct the necessary plebiscite. Because as we all know, the amendments to the constitution which are being proposed now foremost which is federalism will become valid, and will become integral part of the constitution, only if they are ratified by our people in a plebiscite that the COMELEC will conduct,” Commissioner Arthur D. Lim, Commissioner-in-Charge of COMELEC-OFOV said in a statement.
“To our overseas kababayan’s, this continuing registration activity is very important because the May 2019 elections will prove to be also very important if not pivotal because the referendum/ plebiscite or the questions for the people on whether they are in favour of the constitutional amendment might also be included in the May 2019 midterm elections.
The philosophy or policy here is that, every Filipino, where ever you are in the world, you have the right to participate in the elections because this is not only the future of the present generation but also the generations to come,” Commissioner Lim added.
“There are still plenty of overseas Filipinos that have yet to register and vote so it’s the duty of the DFA along with the Foreign Service Post’s to encourage them to register and vote because this coming midterm elections is important specially if constitutional amendment bill will be approved by the Congress,” said Undersecretary Ariel Y. Abadilla, who is concurrently Chairman of DFA-OVS.
All Filipino citizens who expect to be abroad from 13 April – 13 May 2019 during the overseas voting period for the 2019 Elections, at least 18 years old on 13 May 2019, and not otherwise disqualified by law, may register as an overseas voter, at all Philippine Foreign Service Posts including the three (3) Manila Economic and Cultural Offices (MECO) in Taiwan and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Al-Khobar (for an updated list please go to www.dfa-oavs.gov.ph or www.comelec.gov.ph).