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Tuesday , 28 September 2021

Last call for Overseas Voting registration

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Anthony Mandap | Consular Bulletin
ANTHONY MANDAP is the Philippine Deputy Consul General in Melbourne. He was Deputy Consul General in Vancouver. Anton also worked as a journalist in Malaya and the now-defunct Times Journal. He was also Consul in Caracas, San Francisco and Venezuela. He is a product of the University of the Philippines for his journalism and law degrees.

With the deadline only days away, we are calling on all qualified Filipino citizens to register for overseas voting (OV) and let their voices be heard in the May 2022 Philippine national elections.

Despite the extended lockdowns necessitated by the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the Consulate remains open for overseas voting registration. Our staff are working overtime to enlist as many voters as possible within the remaining time. 

You will recall that despite the growing chorus of voices for the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to extend the deadline due to the limited mobility of registrants, the poll body has decided to keep the 30 September deadline to avoid delays in all the other processes.

We reiterate that it is the solemn duty of every qualified Filipino to participate in the democratic process, particularly in electing the most qualified individuals to the highest positions in the land. It is not a coercive, legally-enforceable duty, but it is nonetheless a moral duty, in keeping with our highest democratic traditions.

Let’s regard every coming election in the country as the most important one. The May 2022 elections, wherein we shall elect the President and the Vice-President, among others, should be no different. 

iRehistro Overseas

Unlike in previous OV registrations, there are now various options available, depending on the status of the applicant – whether for registration, certification, transfer from one foreign service post to another, or a simple update in their voting records, such as to change address, name or civil status. 

Although applicants for registration (refers to first-time registration as a voter) and certification (refers to transfer of voting records from the Philippines to a foreign service post) are still required to make a personal appearance, other applicants may be able to do their transactions remotely. Visit the COMELEC Virtual Frontline Service for Overseas Voters on Facebook, or I-Rehistro website.

These innovations allow for a safe and convenient transaction and do away with the need to travel and be in crowded places, which is very important nowadays, with the COVID-19 situation still largely out of control. 

For those who need to see us at the Consulate, there are four easy steps to follow:

Step 1 

Accomplish the application form (available at the Consulate and online, at the COMELEC I-Rehistro website (this is searchable online);

Step 2 

Prepare a document proving one’s Philippine citizenship, age (must be at least 18 by 9 May 2022) and identity. This can be your Philippine passport or any other document proving eligibility for Philippine passport issuance, and their dual citizenship documents in the case of dual citizens.

Step 3 

Present both the application form and supporting document to OV staff at the Consulate; and

Step 4 

Submit yourself for biometric capture.

It is a small sacrifice to make if you really look at it. We know there is a raging pandemic, and there are continuing risks of exposure. But if taking part in a democracy and helping secure the future of our country by electing the right leaders is as important to you as it was to our forefathers who fought and sacrificed for self-governance, then taking these steps is certainly a miniscule price to pay.

The deadline, we repeat, is 30 September. Let’s make the most out of the little time left. Tell your family members, friends, acquaintances, neighbours and all qualified Filipinos you know. 

Let’s all sign up, vote and make our numbers count.

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