x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Filipinos running out of time to register to vote

Filipinos in the Emirates who have not yet registered to vote in the May 2010 general election are being urged to sign up before the seven-month period for absentee voter registration ends.

ABU DHABI // Filipinos in the Emirates who have not yet registered to vote in the May 2010 general election are being urged to sign up before the seven-month period for absentee voter registration ends. Overseas voter registration for the May 10 elections started on February 1 and will end on August 31. About 30 people a day registered at the embassy in July, according to Noel Servigon, the embassy's consul general.

At the consulate in Dubai, officials said they had been receiving an average of 90 people a day. There are an estimated 320,000 Filipinos in the Emirates; 60 per cent are skilled or professional workers, 25 per cent are in the service sector, and 15 per cent are household workers. Records from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs showed that 10,646 Filipinos had registered in the Emirates between February 1 and July 23.

The consulate in Dubai ranked third among Philippine missions worldwide in the registration drive, with 7,998. Hong Kong had 14,259 and Los Angeles 8,406. "I hope the community would be more politically involved in their home country," said Mr Servigon, "and those who had not registered would find time to sign up and vote in the coming elections." Embassy records showed that 35,304 Filipinos registered for the country's 2007 midterm elections.

Officials from both the Philippine embassy and consulate in the UAE have asked the leaders of Filipino organisations to encourage their members to register. Special registration sessions could be arranged on weekends and in the evenings at both diplomatic missions, they said. Members of the University of the Philippines alumni organisation will attend special registration sessions on August 7 at the consulate and on August 14 at the embassy.

Prospective voters must register in person, because biometric data including facial features, fingerprints and signatures need to be digitally recorded. They must also bring a copy of their passports. rruiz@thenational.ae