The 1.3 million mark of registered overseas voters has been surpassed.
And the Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) believes this number can be a game changer in the May 2016 elections.
“Since overseas Filipinos are considered to be their family’s breadwinners, it is not a stretch to surmise that each overseas Filipino can influence the vote of at least three family members,” Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis, Chairman of DFA-OVS, said.
“Thus, the 1.3 million active registered overseas voters are roughly equivalent to 5.2 million votes. This is a definite game changer for Philippine politics,” he added.
Out of the 1,301,598 registered overseas voters, almost 550,000 are in the Middle East and Africa; about 250,000 in the Americas; about 150,000 in Europe; and, 320,000 in Asia and the Pacific, while seafarers registered as overseas voters number about 30,000.
But the number could still increase as voter registration will still end on October 31.
“I hope we can further look into the possibility of holding these registrations in public areas like malls, public squares and parks, community centers and other suitable places where the host government allows the conduct of election-related activities,” COMELEC Chairman Andres D. Bautista said.
All Filipino citizens who expect to be abroad during the 30-day (April 9 – May 9, 2016) overseas voting period for the 2016 Presidential Elections, at least 18 years old on May 9, 2016, and not otherwise disqualified by law may personally register as an overseas voter at any Philippine Foreign Service Post (FSP), including the three Manila Economic and Cultural Offices (MECO), 15 overseas voter registration centers in the Philippines and at other Commission on Elections (COMELEC) approved field/mobile registration centers.
Overseas Filipinos in the Asia Pacific (except China and Taiwan), Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa regions may also go toirehistro.comelec.gov.ph/ov to access the iREHISTRO On-line system and register as an overseas voter.
The Comelec also extended the period for the reactivation of registration records of overseas absentee voters (OAV) up to December 9 to more participation in the upcoming elections.
In Resolution No. 10005, the poll body said this is in view of the clamor not to deactivate the registration records of overseas voters who failed to vote in two previous elections.
Earlier, the poll body ordered the deactivation of 163,019 registered OAVs for the May 2016 polls for their failure to vote in 2010 and 2013.
Republic Act No. 10590 provides for the mandatory deactivation of registration records of OAVs, who failed to vote in two consecutive elections.