Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Extend OAV listing

August 25, 2009

Migrante to COMELEC: Extend OAV listing

With only a week left before the deadline of overseas absentee voters’ (OAV) registration, the largest alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ groups appealed to the Commission on Elections to extend the ongoing OAV registration.

Migrante International, in a statement, said it is “very disappointed” with the COMELEC’s “snail-paced” approval of OAV registrants. The group said that out of 162,356 OAV applications so far, only 17,000 of them have been approved by the COMELEC’s Resident Election Registration Boards (RERB).

The Migrante leader explained that since the start of the OAV registration period last February, the RERBs have convened only twice, in March and in April this year.

OAV registration ends August 31, 2009.

“The COMELEC’s snail paced approval of OAV registrants is unforgivable. We are afraid that, because of this sad development, OFWs might deem the COMELEC insincere in its mandate to ensure our hard fought right to vote,” Martinez said.

“Migrante mobilized all of its chapters and members overseas to encourage Filipinos abroad to register, only to find out that the COMELEC has been sluggish in approving OAV applications,” he added, stressing that they have chapters in nine (9) of the ten (10) countries worldwide who topped OAV listing. ”The deafening clamor of OFWs around the world for an extension of the oav registration seems to be falling on deaf ears.”

Martinez disclosed that COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo wrote them a letter last month asking for help from Migrante chapters worldwide in the promotion of OAV registration.

“We challenge the COMELEC, under the leadership of Chairman Melo, to rise up to the occasion and prove that the right to suffrage of Filipinos overseas is their priority by extending the OAV registration until December 31, 2009; by working triple time in conducting more field registrations and information campaigns and by stepping up the approval process of pending OAV applications for registration,” Martinez concluded. ###

Garry Martinez, Chairperson

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