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Drilon wants Comelec, DFA to explain low OAV turnout

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -  Sen. Franklin Drilon, administration senatorial slate campaign manager, on Tuesday urged the Commission on Elections and the Department of Foreign Affairs to explain the low voter turnout of Filipinos abroad in the last May 13 polls.

Drilon said that despite an increased budget allocated to the two agencies for a wider implementation of the overseas absentee voting law, fewer Filipinos abroad participated in the polls.

"I hate to sound like a broken record, but I again deplore the dismal implementation of the absentee voting law in the just-concluded midterm elections," said Drilon, who was one of the principal sponsors of Republic Act No. 9189, or the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, when it was enacted by Congress in February 2003.

"I want the DFA and the Comelec to explain why," Drilon,  the Senate Finance Committee head, added.

Drilon cited that of the 737,759 registered Filipino voters abroad, only 113,209 voted with a voters’ turnout of only 15. 35 percent.

"This turn out is way below the already low 26 percent overseas absentee voting turnout during the 2010 elections. It seems that less and less Filipinos abroad are inclined to exercise their right to vote, contrary to the intention of Congress when this law was enacted," he said.

"When we crafted the absentee voting law, we wanted to empower the overseas Filipino workers in the hope that at least they can influence the result of the election by electing qualified leaders," Drilon said.

Drilon, who presided over the deliberations of the 2013 national budget in the Senate in September last year, noted that P105.038 million was allocated for the Comelec and another P43.41 million was allocated to the DFA for the implementation of the absentee voting law this year.

"With only 113,209 overseas Filipinos voting, the cost of each absentee vote is now P1,310 per vote. This is outrageous. I wonder how the Comelec and the DFA can justify these numbers,” Drilon said.

During the budget hearings, Drilon specifically directed the DFA to find ways to increase the participation of overseas Filipinos in absentee voting in the 2013 midterm elections. - Dennis Carcamo

ABSENTEE COMELEC DENNIS CARCAMO DRILON ELECTIONS AND THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OVERSEAS OVERSEAS ABSENTEE VOTING ACT REPUBLIC ACT NO SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE VOTING
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