Press Release
April 13, 2007


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today calls on all absentee voters to exercise their right to choose the leaders of the country this coming election.

We have around 8 million OFWs, roughly 10% of our population. We need them to participate in the elections because they are affected by the laws and policies of the country, says Angara.

At the end of the day, the laws we pass in congress affect the welfare of all Filipino workers all over the world, he added.

Angara said that considering the $12 billion OFWs remittances, the least we can do for them, other than creating job opportunities in the country, is to have their representation in the elections.

It is imperative that we involve them in our policy-making eventhough they are not in the Philippines. Absentee voting is the answer to that, Angara said.

Senator Angara also expressed full support to all the agencies including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers' Welfare Administration, and Commission on Filipinos Overseas who will make absentee voting possible.

It is an achievement that the number of voters increased by almost 67% from 2004. We now have 504,122 absentee voters from 76 countries compared to the 300,000 in 2004, Angara said.

It is short of what we have envisioned but the increase in registration shows the increase in confidence among our OFWs, he added.

Senator Angara is the author of RA 9189 or the Absentee Voting Law, Magna Carta for Seafarers which aims to protect and promote the seafaring employment industry, revise the legislative code for the maritime employment industry, and initiatives on educational curriculum, employment system and post-employment support for seafarers and their family and Credit Information System Act which will make credit more available, especially to small yet responsible borrowers including our OFWs. He is also pushing that crash courses on investing money and financial literacy be included in the pre-departure briefings for OFWs. (30)

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