Filipino voters in Saudi Arabia register for 2016 polls

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Overseas Filipino voters in Saudi Arabia trooped to the Philippine embassy in Riyadh on Tuesday, May 6, during the first day of voters' registration for the 2016 national elections. (READ: Overseas in 2016? Vote abroad, says Comelec)

A total of 141 applications for registration were processed by the embassy. First among them was that of Romel Devaras, from Tacloban City, Leyte.

Besides the onsite registration, an "embassy-on-wheels" overseas voting outreach missions will be conducted by the post.

"We will go to Philippine schools, hospitals, jobsites, and other places during these outreach missions, so that even more Filipinos can register," said Ezzedin Tago, Philippine ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

The Philippine embassy in Riyadh is open Sundays to Thursdays, 8 am onwards, for voter's registration. Applicants should bring a copy of their Philippine passport or any valid ID to register.

During the 2013 midterm elections, there were a total of 83,660 registered overseas absentee voters (OAV) in Riyadh and Jeddah.

OAVs can vote only for national positions, namely: president, vice president, senators, and party-list representative.

The overseas absentee voting period is one month long, from April 9 to May 9, 2016.

In an earlier interview with Rappler, Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez said that the poll body was stepping up its efforts to encourage more qualified OAVs not only to register, but also to vote on election day.

During the May 13, 2013, midterm elections, there were 737,759 registered OAVs but only 15.35% of them cast their ballots on election day.

"Hopefully, since the 2016 polls is a presidential election, we might have a better turnout than in 2013," Jimenez said.

The voter's registration for the 2016 polls will end on October 31, 2015.

Comelec expects 12.6 million voters to register: 3 million new voters and 9.6 million voters who lack or have incomplete biometrics data. – Rappler.com

Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.

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