Senate President Franklin M. Drilon urged the overseas Filipinos to take part in the upcoming May 2016 polls.
Drilon, author of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, said that their fate, as well as the future of their families in the Philippines is at stake in the elections.
“We should not take for granted the May 2016 elections. We should exercise our right to vote and take an active role in choosing the country’s next set of leaders,” Drilon said.
Drilon, who is seeking a re-election bid in the Senate under the Liberal Party, said that the main reason why he pushed for the absentee voting law is “to empower the overseas Filipino workers to participate in shaping our country’s future by electing qualified leaders.”
“The outcome of this election will have an impact on our country’s policies on the welfare of around seven million Filipinos living abroad including the 2.3 million overseas Filipino workers,” the senator stressed.
Drilon then lauded the Commission on Elections and the Department of Foreign Affairs for stepping up their efforts in implementing the Overseas Absentee Voting Act.
However, Drilon said that the real challenge for these two agencies is “how to increase the overseas voting turnout,” as he noted the low overseas voting turnout in the past elections.
He said that it is the first time since the law’s enactment in 2003 that registered overseas voters has reached over one million.
Citing Comelec’s data, Drilon said that there are 1.37 million registered overseas voters who are expected to participate in the 2016 national elections, 826,880 of which are new registrants.
Drilon said that in the 2010 elections, the actual number of voters that participated totalled 153,323, which represented only 26 percent of the 589,830 registered absentee voters in that year.
Drilon said that he hopes that overseas Filipinos will avail of the one month overseas voting period which is slated from April 9 to May 9.
He further said: “Ang panawagan ko po ngayon sa ating mga kababayan sa ibayong dagat, ang kinabukasan po ng ating bansa ay nakadepende sa mga leader na ating inihahalal. Ang karapatan po natin na maghalal ng maayos na pinuno, iyan po ang ating kinabukasan. Kaya hinihimok ko po kayo: Exercise your right to vote. Bumoto po kayo,” Drilon emphasized.
“Sumali po tayo sa halalan upang maayos at karapat-dapat ang mga lider na ating maihalal. Lalo na po sa ating overseas Filipino workers, ang resulta ng eleksyong ito ay makaaapekto sa pamumuhay ng ating mga mahal sa buhay na nanatili rito sa Pilipinas na siyang dahilan kung bakit tayo naglakas-loob na makipagsa-palaran sa ibayong dagat,” Drilon concluded. #