2022 Philippine Elections

Robredo seeks special voting precincts for BPO workers

John Sitchon
Robredo seeks special voting precincts for BPO workers
Vice President Leni Robredo also proposes an executive order expanding the sectors covered by absentee voting

CEBU, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo will petition the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to set up special voting precincts for business, processing, and outsourcing (BPO) employees in the May 2022 elections.

“The main purpose of the petition that we are filing with Comelec is to make sure that our BPO employees are not disenfranchised,” said presidential aspirant Robredo during a press conference on Monday, December 13. She said some BPO workers “might not be able to vote because of the nature of their work.”

“In Cebu, I think there’s almost 200,000, right? Almost 200,000 BPO employees but all over the Philippines is about 1.2 million employees,” she added.

In the same press conference, former Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña said that they were closely coordinating with the Vice President on the issue.

“I told [Tommy] I was very much willing to write Comelec to petition that Comelec put up voting places in three areas that Tommy mentioned,” Robredo said.

These three areas are the Cebu Business Park near Barangay Luz, Cebu I.T. Park in Barangay Lahug, and the Cebu Business Park in Barangay Kasambagan.

“We were discussing the plight of the BPO employees not just with regards to the election but with many other things like transportation from work, housing arrangements, the fact that there is opportunity but you need the help of the government in order to maximize the opportunity that is there and we discussed about it,” she said.

Business process outsourcing (BPO) workers in Cebu City share their problems, including in housing and transportation, during a dialogue with Vice President Leni Robredo. (OVP photo).

Based on present Comelec regulations, voting hours are from 6 am to 7 pm. 

While Robredo and Osmeña were eager to have the special voting centers set up, the Vice President said that the long term solution was to amend an Executive Order expanding the sectors covered by absentee voting.

“We do understand that even BPO employees, not just BPO employees, but all Filipinos who do the same kind of work that BPO people do will benefit from the amendment of the Executive Order which will include them in the categorization that they should also be entitled to absentee voting privileges,” said Robredo.

Currently, only OFWs, uniformed personnel, and other government officials who are abroad on election duty are given absentee voting privileges.

The BPO workers told the Vice President that among the other challenges they face are slow connectivity for those working from home and the mismatch between TESDA IT-BPO training courses and the industry requirements. They also suggested that government might consider exploring Coursera courses in partnership with DOST. They raised the need to update the curricula of Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education to keep up with market demands. – Rappler.com