WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Over 1.6 million overseas Filipinos will begin voting for national candidates in the 2022 elections on Sunday, April 10, or a month ahead of the May 9 elections.
During the monthlong overseas voting, Filipinos abroad will be choosing their president, vice president, senators, and party-list groups.
Depending on their host country’s designated mode of voting, overseas Filipinos will either vote personally by appearing at Philippine embassies, consulates, and other official polling places, or vote via mail. (READ: #PHVote Guides: Where, when, and how to vote overseas)
Bookmark and refresh this page for updates from around the globe on the Philippines’ overseas voting for the 2022 elections.
LIST: Blunders in the 2022 overseas election
While the Comelec has yet to release a full turnout of overseas voters this year, at least 471,678 Filipinos abroad were able to vote, based on the sum of presidential votes in the partial and unofficial results.
This figure translates into an incomplete turnout of around 27.8% of the more than 1.6 million Filipinos registered.
Behind the numbers, numerous incidents of disenfranchisement and alleged irregularities surfaced before and during the month-long voting period.
Check out the list the here.
Posts in Kenya, Russia bring consular mission to more voters in far cities
As the monthlong overseas voting period went into its final week, the Philippine embassies in Nairobi and Moscow brought consular missions to Filipinos living in cities far from the posts’ locations, making it easier for voters to exercise their right to vote.
In coordination with the Philippine honorary consulate in Kampala, the Philippine embassy in Nairobi made mobile voting services available to Filipinos living in neighboring country Uganda. Meanwhile, the embassy in Moscow brought voting services to Filipinos in Vladivostok.
The Department of Foreign Affairs did not confirm how many Filipinos voted in Uganda. Meanwhile, 18 voters in Vladivostok received, accomplished, and submitted their ballots at the consular mission on Wednesday, May 4.
Port city Vladivostok is seven time zones away from Moscow and is near Russia’s border with China and North Korea.
“We hope to empower our entire Filipino community in Russia spread all across Russia’s European and Asian fronts, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok,” said Philippine Ambassador to Russia Igor Bailen.
Comelec hopeful PH would surpass 2016 overseas voter turnout
At least 385,435 Filipinos living outside the country, or around 23% of the 1.69 million voter population abroad, have already cast their ballots during the month-long overseas voting in the run-up to the May 9, 2022 general elections in the Philippines.
In a press briefing, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said the numbers as of Thursday, May 5, were partial, since other foreign service posts had yet to report their latest voter turnout.
But he expressed optimism that the Philippines would surpass the overseas voter turnout of 31% in the last presidential election six years ago. The record was 64% in 2004, the first year the Philippines made overseas voting an option for Filipinos.
“With this trend, malamang malalagpasan natin iyong 2016 voter turnout (we’re likely to surpass the voter turnout in 2016),” Casquejo said.
PH consulate in Dubai offers shuttle service for Northern Emirates voters
Over a hundred Filipino voters living in the Northern Emirates of Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, and Ajman availed of a free shuttle service provided by the Philippine consulate general in Dubai from April 30 to May 1, the consulate said in a media release on Wednesday, May 4.
“We understand that we have kababayans in the Northern Emirates who might have challenges to come to Dubai to vote. We hope to help them in some way by providing a free shuttle service so they can come here and exercise their right to vote,” said Consul General Renato Dueñas Jr.
Interested voters in the northern part of the United Arab Emirates filled in a pre-registration form to secure their slots in the round-trip shuttle service.
The consulate partnered with the Filipino Social Club and Sangguniang Masang Pilipino International, Incorporated, who served as trip managers helping transport the passengers to and from the destinations safely.
The consulate said it was considering organizing additional trips for the last stretch of the monthlong voting period, which ends on Monday, May 9.
The UAE is the most vote-rich country for the 2022 elections, with more than 290,000 registered voters.
Philippine posts in US require antigen tests to enter polling area
The Philippine embassy in Washington, DC on Friday, April 29, announced that poll watchers and accredited media, observers, and members of civil society organizations must undergo rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 before entering the embassy’s polling and canvassing area beginning Monday, May 2.
The embassy said that this was to “ensure smooth and continuous electoral proceedings” until the election closes on May 9. The embassy will be providing the antigen tests upon watchers’ arrival.
The Philippine consulate in New York has required negative antigen tests as well. According to the consulate, a poll watcher from a political party filed a protest questioning the necessity of the tests, and saying that the requirement is “onerous” as it may affect observers’ participation. The poll watcher also argued that health and safety protocols at the federal, state, and municipal levels did not mandate negative tests for access to public services.
In response, the consulate pointed to the Commission on Elections’ Resolution No. 10751, which provides that watchers “shall observe the minimum health and safety protocols imposed by the host country, as implemented by the Post.” The consulate said that there was no explicit prohibition on imposing protocols on top of the minimum, and that the policy was not onerous since the testing requirement did not “outweigh the benefit of observing the conduct of the election.”
Filipinos cast votes in remote Russian city
Several Filipino voters in Yakutsk, a remote city in Russia just 450 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle, were able to vote in a consular mission the Philippine embassy in Moscow held in the city on Wednesday, April 27.
The embassy’s outreach mission team flew nearly 5,000 miles to get to Yakutsk. The Department of Foreign Affairs did not specify the number of ballots submitted on Wednesday – only that there were several, and that members of the Filipino community in Yakutsk also took the opportunity to renew their passports, claim Overseas Workers Welfare Administration IDs, and have other documents notarized.
“This mission to Yakutsk is special to us, as it is the first time in two years since we had consular services in Siberia. We are glad to bring to the isolated members of our Filipino community there their ballots so they exercise their right of suffrage,” said Consul General Robert Ferrer.
There are 2,594 registered overseas voters in Russia.
PH Consulate General in Dubai offers free rides for voters outside of the city
With the May presidential election drawing near, the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai has announced it will offer free roundtrip bus rides for registered voters in the city’s neighboring emirates on Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1.
“We understand that we have kababayans in the Northern Emirates who might have challenges to come to Dubai to vote. We hope to help them in some way by providing a free shuttle service so they can come here and exercise their right to vote,” Consul General Renato Dueñas Jr. told Rappler.
“This is an additional service that we provide to facilitate the voting of overseas Filipinos here in the Northern Emirates, which is part of our jurisdiction.”
Except for Sharjah, an emirate at the border with Dubai, the free roundtrip rides to and from the Philippine Consulate General will be available in the other Northern Emirates of Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Umm Al Quwain, which are around two hours away by public bus from Dubai. Officials estimate there could be approximately 10,000 registered voters in these four emirates.
The Philippine Consulate General said application is on a first-come, first-served basis. It added that applications will be reviewed and that a final list of passengers will be announced on Thursday, April 28.
Comelec: Ballot in New Zealand ‘deliberately edited’
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) confirmed on Monday, April 25, that the viral photo of a voter’s ballot showing Vice President Leni Robredo’s name missing from the presidential candidates was “deliberately edited.”
“The OFOV confirms that the photo showing an official ballot received by an overseas voter in New Zealand has been deliberately edited to make it appear that VP Robredo’s name is missing from the list of presidential candidates,” the OFOV said.
The OFOV added that it is in close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine embassy in New Zealand to identify those responsible for editing the photo and spreading it on social media.
The embassy in New Zealand earlier urged overseas voters who allegedly received ballots with missing entries to return their ballot so their claims could be verified.
PH embassy urges recipient of alleged anomalous ballot to come forward
The Philippine embassy in New Zealand urged any overseas voter who received ballots with “missing” entries to return the ballot they received so claims can be verified.
This comes after a Facebook user alleged in a post that the name of Vice President Leni Robredo was missing from the presidential candidates listed on a ballot.
The Philippine embassy said it is closely coordinating with the Commission on Elections on the matter. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez tweeted on Sunday, April 24, that he has referred the issue to the Office for Overseas Voting.
Meanwhile, Comelec Commissioner George Garcia called the alleged anomalous ballot “fake news,” adding that a task force will look into the matter.
PH consulate in Dubai urges voters, poll-watchers to follow election rules
Philippine Consul General in Dubai Renato Dueñas Jr. strongly advised voters and poll watchers to strictly comply with election rules and regulations.
He said the consulate’s personnel are required to report violators to the Commission on Election (Comelec), who will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.
Dueñas warned that violations of election laws – including the unofficial publication of exit polls, propagation of false and alarming reports or information, and the circulation of false orders during the conduct of overseas voting, among others – “are taken seriously by the Commission.”
The following information may be collected and reported to the Comelec:
- name of the offending party
- name of his/her organization, political party, party-list group, or candidate in case of poll watchers, as well as observers, media entities, or civil society partners
- description of the acts or omissions complained about
- date of the commission of the offense
- sworn statement or affidavit of witnesses
Political parties with accredited poll watchers are the PDP-Laban, Lakas-CMD, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Liberal Party, and SAGIP party list.