16 February 2009
Security and Safety of undocumented first before urging them to enlist for 2010 polls
This is a reaction to the news reports that the OAV Secretariat of COMLEC and DFA is both urging undocumented to enlist for 2010 elections.
On the said reports, Foreign Affairs Spokesman and OAV Chair Bayani Mangibin made mention on how undocumented OFWs could enlist themselves for the 2010 elections by simply bringing some form of identification such as passport.
We are aghast on Mr. Mangibin's statement as it certainly lacks wisdom on the subject matter. How could an undocumented or ran away or illegal OFWs could enlist for the OAV if his primary identification which is his passport was being kept by his abusive employer? How could you encourage someone to come and register himself if he is deemed to keeping away from the public or host government's eye much more in the official voters list as absentee voters because of the very status of his stay in the host country as illegal or undocumented? That is precisely the reason why we have called the undocumented or illegal as 'TNT' (tago-ng-tago) . Mr. Mangibin certainly does not know the predicaments of undocumented OFWs whose main concern is their security and safety, before anything else, before exercising its right of suffrage.
Without paying attention on the security and safety of undocumented before enlisting for the OAV, Mr. Mangibin's information how to enlist for the 2010 polls become implausible. In this regard, we are calling the OAV Secretariat to provide clear rules and regulations on the registration of undocumented paying attention to their concerns which is their security and safety and this include the provision for their legalization first. Without such clear rules and regulations, no undocumented are willing to register as overseas absentee voters for 2010 elections.
More so, the shortening of the OAV registration from the original duration of 9-months to 7-months now by virtue of a COMELEC resolution would not give a fair time to OFWs who are facing lots of limitations to register as absentee voters.
The limited and inaccessible OAV registration centers as most OFWs are coming from far locations, the timing of the registrations which are not conducive for OFWs to enlist themselves as it contradicts on their day offs are seen reasons why many will be disenfranchised. We are quite sure that the OAV Secretariat target of 1-M absentee voters for 2010 elections is unattainable because of the reasons as stated above which the OAV Secretariat must squarely resolve. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012