OFW voters' registration eyed in malls abroad

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it is studying the possibility of allowing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to register as voters in malls abroad.

"The mall culture is very Filipino. Filipinos like to go to malls and like to converge in malls. So we would like to take advantage of that," Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said in a news conference Tuesday, July 21.

He said OFW registration in malls was proposed because "Filipinos converge also in malls all over the world."

"But the problem is, we don't know whether the mall owners outside the country would cooperate with us," Bautista said.

This comes as the Comelec taps malls in the Philippines for more election services.

The Comelec, for one, is allowing voters in the Philippines to register and have their biometrics validated in malls. (READ: LIST: Comelec satellite voters' registration schedules

Voting in malls 

The poll body is also considering to put voting precincts in malls in May 2016.

Mall giants SM and Robinsons have agreed to host voting precincts in at least 95 malls combined.

On Tuesday, Bautista also said Comelec directors had formed technical working groups "to study in depth the proposal to hold voting in malls."

"I think that the feedback has been positive," he said.

He added that the Comelec will soon launch a survey on its website to get the public's pulse on the matter.

"We would like the public to also participate in this regard, and we want them to let their thoughts be known," the Comelec chairman said. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.