Over 600,000 new overseas voters registered – DFA

Despite the historically low turnout of overseas voters, the Department of Foreign Affairs is aggressively aiming to increase the number of voters registered

Rappler.com

11:0:0am August 21, 2015

9:28:34am August 21, 2015

REGISTER TO VOTE. PH embassy and Tambayan Pinoy Swiss (TPS) encourages Filipinos in Switzerland to vote in the 2016 elections. Screenshot from the PH embassy in Switzerland's Facebook page

REGISTER TO VOTE. PH embassy and Tambayan Pinoy Swiss (TPS) encourages Filipinos in Switzerland to vote in the 2016 elections. Screenshot from the PH embassy in Switzerland's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – This year, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that over 600,000 new overseas absentee voters (OAVs) have registered to vote in the 2016 national elections. 

Of the total number of voters registered, 249,512 were from the Middle East and Africa; 123,993 from the Americas; 68,124 from Europe and 91,099 in the Asia Pacific.

Despite this increase, historically, not very many Filipinos vote in the elections. According to data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the OAV turnout in the last two elections marked only a 25% turnout in the 2010 elections and 16% in the 2013 elections.

Overseas Voter Registration Centers in the Philippines registered about 68,106 new voters. In July, 6 more registration centers were set up in provinces across the country at the DFA's regional consular offices in Davao, Cebu, Pampanga, and in Metro Manila at Robinson's Galleria, SM Manila, and Ali Mall.

In a 2014 statement, former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr said they were aiming to register two million OAVs for the 2016 polls – more than twice the turnout in the last election.

DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement, "The preparations by the Department and the Commission on Elections led to a successful start for the registration process."

Overseas Filipinos in the Asia Pacific (except China and Taiwan), Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa region can register via irehistro.comelec.gov.ph/ov to access the iREHISTRO online system to register as an overseas voter. 

The deadline to register is on October 31, 2015. – Rappler.com