Thursday, September 10, 2009

Real reason for shortening OAV registration

Real reason for shortening OAV registration:
Due to lack of funds or diversion of funds? –OFW group

Press Release
10 September 2009

Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organization in the Middle East today said it can’t fully understand why the overseas absentee voting registration period that is supposed to be 13-month long were shortened to just 7-month duration that ended on 31 August 2009.

“Until now, it is still puzzling us, OFWs abroad, why the registration period for overseas absentee voters has been shortened from thirteen months (13) to seven (7) months that ended last 31 August 2009, the very main reason why OAV registrants have barely reached more than 200,000, way behind COMELEC’s original target of 1-M OAV voters for the 2010 elections?” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said the COMELEC en banc has passed a resolution to effect the shortening of this year’s OAV registration that started from 1st February and have ended on 31st August 2009; “Upon knowing that the COMELEC passed a resolution shortening OAV’s registration period, we issued statement asking why shorten the registration and have campaigned for its extension ‘til end of December,” Monterona averred.

Monterona further said the resolution passed by the COMELEC is per see a justification why it needs to shortened the OAV registration.

“Though we heard the reason cited by the COMELEC in deciding to shorten the OAV registration, it is as “shallow as the water in the pail”,” the OFW leader continued.

“Until we got the information that the budget intended for the conduct of OAV registration was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), not to the Commissions on Elections,” Monterona added.

Monterona said the COMELEC being the lead agency for the registration of voters, just like previous OAV registrations, must receive the budget directly from the DBM so that it can properly manage the conduct of OAV registrations based on the original durations with funds on its hands.

“Now, we are asking a legitimate question: Is the COMELEC constrained then by the limited funds given to them by the Department of Foreign Affairs, thus it was forced to shorten the OAV registration to only 7 months?” Monterona queried.

Monterona said if that is the case, OFWs have reason to believe that it is the Arroyo administration’ s intention to disenfranchise the millions of OFWs abroad as the DBM and DFA are under the Executive branch controlling even the budget that is for the COMELEC limiting the latter to successfully implement OAV registrations.

“Is this part of the administration’ s grand scheme so that a big number out of the 10-M OFWs and overseas Filipinos could not participate in electing righteous opposition candidates?, thus the administrations candidate would surely win in the 2010 elections and the Arroyos’ continue to control the new administration to absolve her and her family from numerous graft and corruption charges? Monterona added.

“OFWs and their families will not brand the Arroyo administration as the most-anti OFWs and OFWs’ nightmare if its really working for the welfare and protection of OFWs; even the basic rights of OFWs to vote as guaranteed by the Constitution and the Overseas Absentee Voting law, is crippled by this most distrusted Arroyo administration,” Monterona ended.

Migrante-ME is calling the attention of the Congress to look into this matter during budget deliberations and to ensure that funds for a special purpose such as the OAV registration must be used for what it is intended by the law.

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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