MANILA — Seven Filipino overseas voters who were not registered at the Philippine Embassy in Moscow were able to vote at the Embassy on April 26 following a new Comelec rule allowing this.
The new Comelec rule provides that all registered overseas voters with active registration status may vote at the Foreign Service Post (FSP) near their current residence or work. A day after the Philippine Embassy in Moscow circulated this new rule, six voters registered in Hong Kong and one voter registered in Singapore came to the Embassy to vote.
The first to avail of this new rule in Moscow was Ms. Imelda Ferrer. She is a registered voter at the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong but recently moved to Moscow for employment reasons.
Ms. Ferrer expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to exercise her right to vote, stating “Salamat po sa pagkakataong ito na kahit sa Hong Kong po kami naka-register binigyan po kami ng tsansa na makaboto dito sa Moscow . . . dahil sayang po yong boto namin as an OFW. Maraming maraming salamat po sa pagkakataong ito at nakaboto kami.” (Thank you for this opportunity, even though we registered in Hong Kong we were given a chance to vote here in Moscow . . . otherwise my vote as an OFW would not be counted. Thank you very, very much for this opportunity for us to vote).
Ms. Berginia Antiquin, who is also a registered voter at the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong and who voted right after Ms. Ferrer, also expressed her appreciation, saying, “Salamat po dahil nakapunta ako dito para bumuto. Akala ko wala na akong tsansa na bumoto dito.” (I am thankful that I was able to come here to vote. I thought I would not have the chance to vote here).
In addition, Ms. Antiquin called on her compatriots to go the Philippine Embassy to vote. Ms. Antiquin said “Sa hindi pa nakaboto pumuntana kayo dito . . .Maraming salamat po!” (To those who have not yet voted, come over . . . thank you very much!).
To ensure the smooth implementation of this new rule, the Comelec had set up verification hotlines between Philippine FSPs and the Office for Overseas Voting. Because of this hotline, it only took less than five minutes to verify if each voter had active registrations. In addition, the hotline system is designed to make sure that double voting is prevented. PNA/northboundasia.com