Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to strengthen the government’s Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) program so more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can exercise their right to suffrage without leaving their jobs or residences abroad. “It is high time that the Comelec adopt all the necessary technologies that would empower about 10 to 12 million overseas Filipinos to use the Internet to register and vote in 2016 and onwards,” said Drilon, principal author of the OAV Act of 2003. He said the modes of registration and voting under the OAV law, Republic Act 9189 as amended by RA No. 10590, through mail or personal appearance at the Philippine embassies or consulates abroad, limit overseas voter registration and actual voting.
Only 2.5 percent or a little over 200,000 of the estimated 10 to 12 million overseas Filipinos, including OFWs, dual citizens, seafarers cast their votes in past national elections, he said.
Drilon said the Comelec should make it a reality for Filipinos based outside the country to be able to vote in the upcoming 2016 national elections by utilizing the power of the Internet.
“Technological advances should already be utilized to surmount all overseas voting challenges in the past. The bigger voice of overseas Filipinos must be heard now,” he said.