Filipino expats urged to vote
Filipinos urged to cast their vote
UAE based Filipinos have been warned not to leave voting to the last minute as the polling stations here won’t be able to cope.
That’s according to Paul Raymund Cortes, Philippine Consul General, who urged Filipinos to exercise their right to vote before the May 9 deadline.
So far the turnout has been lower than expected with only 31,000 of the 194,621 registered voters in the UAE casting their ballot since it opened on April 9.
“I urge our compatriots who have not voted yet to do so early and not leave voting to the last minute because we will not be able to accommodate all of them on the last day of elections,” said Cortes.
He listed a number of reasons for the low voter turnout, such as a lack of time, busy lifestyle and transportation problems.
To encourage more voters in the capital, the Filipino embassy has extended its opening times until May 8 to 8am to 8pm. The elections will run until May 9.
For the mission in Dubai, two polling stations will be available this weekend.
Cortes dismissed the idea that low voter turnout is due to the possibility that many registered voters have already gone back to the Philippines for good or may have moved to a new country.
He encouraged his fellow countrymen to make an effort and get involved in the country’s 16th presidential elections.
“The bulk of the new registrants or the 50,000 people that we registered from May 2014 to October 2015 are those who came to us to renew their passports. It’s only been a year since, it’s impossible for all of them to have gone home for good,” Cortes said. Filipinos can visit the website of the Philippine embassy or consulate for the complete voters’ list to check whether they are registered.
Officials reiterated that on the last day of the election on May 9, the embassy and consulate will be open from 5am to 1pm only, coinciding with the polls in the Philippines.
To help get as many turning out to vote in the election, the Philippines embassy is laying on a free bus to bring voters to the polling station.
Voters will be picked up at designated points in both Sharjah and Dubai on Friday, May 6, and taken to the Philippines Consulate before they are returned to the same point they were picked up at.
CONTENDER: Grace Poe campaigns for the presidency in the Philippines