The Commission on Elections is all set for the month-long overseas voting for the May midterm polls in 80 Philippine embassies and posts all over the world which begins on Saturday, April 13, but no voting will be held in conflict areas such as Damascus in Syria, Tripoli in Libya and Baghdad in Iraq.
“These three won’t have elections because of prevailing local conditions,” said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez. “We don’t see elections happening there in the immediate foreseeable future.”
Syria and Iraq have been marred by heavy fighting between armed groups and the Islamic State terror group.
Last week, the Presidential Council in Libya placed security forces on alert after units loyal to the rival Libyan National Army announced they have begun advancing towards Tripoli, triggering some limited clashes south of the capital that left one person dead.
The director of the Comelec Office for Overseas Voting, Eliza David, said the agency is “99 percent ready” for the April13 start of absentee voting.
A total of 41 cities or posts will be using the vote counting machines. These are in Agana, Calgary, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Ottawa, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Brunei, Canberra, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Syndey, Tokyo, Wellington, Athens, London, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Al-Khobar, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv.
Another mode of voting is the manual system, which entails personal voting or voting through the mail.
Postal voting will be used in Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Santiago, Bangkok, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Islamabad, Port Moresby, Yangon, Ankara, Berlin, Berne, Brussels, Budapest, Geneva, Lisbon, Moscow, Oslo, Paris, Prague, The Hague, Vienna, Warsaw, Abuja, Cairo, and Pretoria. Macon Ramos-Araneta, Rio N. Araja, PNA
On the other hand, the following posts will be using personal voting—Dhaka, Dili, Jakarta, Manado, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Vientiane, Xiamen, Vatican, Amman, Nairobi, and Tehran.
For the 2019 polls, there are a total of 1,822,173 overseas voters, 1,779,140 are land-based workers while sea-based workers totaled 43,033.
In terms of geographical locations, the Middle East and African Region had the highest number with 887,744; followed by the Asia Pacific Region with 401,390; North and Latin American Region with 345,415; and European Region with 187,624.
A women’s group urged overseas voters to support only candidates who have their interests at heart.
In a statement, BaBae! Network [Babae Bantayan ang Eleksyon!] called on Filipino workers around the world to carefully discern who among the candidates they should support
The group advised them to vote for candidates who value them and their contribution to the nation’s economy and to look for candidates who prioritize their welfare and ensure protection of their rights in and out of the country.
Meanwhile, the Comelec has suspended the election for the representative fo the first congressional district of South Cotabato following the passage of a law creating a separate legislative district in General Santos City.
The Comelec cited Republic Act 11243 that reapportions the first legislative district of South Cotabato and creates the lone district of General Santos City.
Jimenez said the election for the first district representative was suspended because the commission did not have enough time to prepare a new Book of Voters.
Also on Friday, presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said the good performance of the candidates of her Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) in recent polls was a sign that their message of “positive change” was working.
“We are pushing a different kind of campaigning, something that does not involve maligning or attacking other candidates, and we think the voters agree with us,” Duterte said.
She said the agenda of each HNP candidate resonates well with the voters.
“Our candidates truly value what the voters consider important to their lives and to the country,” she said.
Duterte, also chairman of the HNP said the party’s officers and volunteers are humbled that all their efforts have resulted in something positive.
“But we cannot be happy until after the winners are proclaimed, so we shall continue to soar and fight until we succeed,” she said.