More overseas Filipinos cast vote

FAR AWAY VOTE OFWS in Israel line up at the Philippine embassy to vote for their candidates in the national elections. PHOTO FROM PHILIPPINE EMBASSY IN ISRAEL

FILIPINOS in Jordan, Israel and South African countries have cast their absentee votes for national candidates in the May 9 elections, Philippine diplomatic officials reported.

Philippine diplomatic missions abroad have been deputized by the Commission on Elections as polling precincts for Filipino expatriates.

Close to 1.7 million Filipinos abroad were expected to participate in overseas absentee voting, which will last from April 10 to May 9.

In Amman, the capital of Jordan, the first to cast a vote was Philippine Ambassador to Jordan Akmad Sakkam followed by other Embassy officials, personnel and members of their families.

In South Africa, Philippine diplomatic officials said voters braved the rain on a cold autumn weekend to cast their votes at the Philippine Embassy in Pretoria on the first voting day.

Registered overseas voters in countries under the Embassy's jurisdiction (South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini or Swaziland, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) were asked to contact the Embassy at [email protected] for assistance on how to obtain their mail packets which contain their ballots and election materials.

In Tel Aviv, Israel, Vice Consul Teri Adolf Bautista, chairman of the Special Board of Election Inspector and Overseas Voting, opened the polling before the first batch of voters, representatives from the different political parties, poll watchers and members of the media.

Bautista said everyone witnessed that the ballot boxes were empty, the vote counting machine (VCM) was operational and that there was no vote listed in the secure digital card of the VCM.

Philippine Ambassador to Israel Macairog Alberto said the first voting day in Tel Aviv was smooth and orderly. He called on the Filipinos in Israel to vote early, bring with them the requirements (valid passport or any valid Philippine Government-issued ID) and follow the guidelines for voting procedure at the Philippine Embassy.

“Ang pagboto sa halalan ay mahalagang sandigan ng ating demokrasya at isang karapatan na dapat tamasahin ng ating mga kababayan. Kami po ay malugod na tatanggap sa ating mga duly-registered na kababayan dito sa Israel na nais pumarito sa Embahada para makaboto (Voting in an election is important in our democracy and it is a right that every qualified Filipino voter must exercise. We will be happy to welcome our duly-registered countrymen here in Israel, who wish to come to the Embassy in order to vote),” Alberto said.

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