Overseas voting starts without hitch: envoys

The kickoff of overseas absentee voting (OAV) was generally successful, as Filipinos abroad cast their votes for the 2019 mid-term polls beginning last Saturday in different Philippine Embassies and Consulates General around the world, diplomats said.

At the Philippine Embassy in Moscow which covers the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Ukraine, and Belarus, more than 30 Filipinos cast their ballots on the first day of voting.

“Everything is well. No problems so far except for a few people whose names were not in the Certified List of Overseas Voters for our Post, which we hope to resolve soon with the Commission on Elections,” Philippine Ambassador Carlos Sorreta said in a text message.

At the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, hundreds of registered Filipino voters trooped outside the consulate on Saturday.

“The turnout is impressive and satisfactory,” Philippine Consul General Edgar Badajos said in an earlier interview in Jeddah.

Submitting report from Guangzhou, the Philippine Consulate General in the area reported that the conduct of the voting was problem-free.

“Guangzhou PCG is expecting approximately 1,000 voters within its jurisdiction as Filipinos all over the world take part in the democratic exercise,” it said.

The same goes for the conduct of overseas voting at the Philippine Embassy in Washington.

“The first day of overseas voting passed without incident. The Embassy expects to receive more accomplished ballots in the coming days,” Darell Artates, public diplomacy officer at the Embassy told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

For the 2019 National and Local Elections (NLE), a total of 1,822,173 OFWs registered for the OAV.

Of this number, 401,390 are based in the Asia Pacific Region, 887,744 in the Middle East and African Region, 187, 632 in Europe, and 345,415 in the North and Latin American Region.

The voting on Saturday, April 13, started at around 8 a.m. local time of the host country and shall end at 6 p.m. on May 13, Manila time.

Aside from the three conflict-affected posts, namely Damascus, Tripoli, and Bagdhad where overseas voting was cancelled, all Filipino foreign posts opened its doors to Filipinos who participated in the OAV.

A total of 41 posts used the vote counting machines, namely those based 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.

Meanwhile, voting via mail were utilized 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.

On the other hand, Filipinos voted in the following posts in person: Dhaka, Dili, Jakarta, Manado, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Vientiane, Xiamen, Vatican, Amman, Nairobi, and Tehran. (PNA)