November 28, 2008
Gina Esguerra, Secretary General (0905-8361412)
OFW alliance hits reset of OAV list-up
The largest alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) groups worldwide slammed today the Commission on Elections' (COMELEC) order moving the resumption of the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) registration from December 1, 2008 to February 1, 2009.
The COMELEC on November 25 resolved to reset the OAV list-up two months later because many of the data capturing machines stationed in foreign posts, they said are either defective or in need of replacement.
"The rescheduling of the OAV registration is a deliberate move of the Arroyo regime to again disenfranchise overseas Filipino voters," says Gina Esguerra, newly elected Secretary General of Migrante International.
"This regime is scared stiff of the cast iron rejection the OFW sector would give Arroyo and her allies in 2010. It is no secret that compared to that of their rivals, this regime has zero credibility among OFWs and this is the reason why they moved to shorten the OAV registration period."
Migrante also dismissed as "doubletalk" the COMELEC's statement that they are targeting one million OAV voters for the 2010 elections.
"The COMELEC is in fact engaged in distasteful doubletalk. How can they register one million Filipino voters abroad if they lessened the registration period from 9 months to seven months? Who are they fooling?" she said.
The Migrante leader said they are now preparing a global petition to protest the COMELEC's resetting of the OAV list up, to call for a massive election information drive among OFWs and the setting up of satellite OAV registration sites even in the remotest areas where OFWs congregate.
"While we harbor no illusions that the current electoral system can deliver us from the horrendous conditions we suffer from abusive employers abroad and from this criminally negligent government, we vow to fight for our right to suffrage as overseas absentee voters so we can at least junk Arroyo and her allies by way of the ballot and beat them at their own game," Esguerra said.
Migrante said, a total of 361, 231 land based and sea based OFWs registered to vote for the 2004 elections. However, only 65% turned out and actually voted. For the 2007 polls, meanwhile; 503, 894 registered for the OAV but only had a miniscule 16% voters turn out. #