Press Release
August 17, 2012

Drilon wants intensified implementation of absentee voting law

Senator Franklin M. Drilon scored on the dismal implementation of overseas absentee voting law despite the huge expenses being proposed by the Commission of Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for that purpose.

"When we crafted this law, we have very good intention. We wanted to empower the OFWs voters in the hope that at least they can influence the result of the election by electing qualified leaders," recalled Drilon.

"However, the result has been a bit dismal. The total registration is just about the size of two congressional districts, and the voters' turnout is just a size of one congressional district," stressed Drilon.

"I laid the blame on Comelec and DFA for not being able to increase awareness of the importance of this law," he added.

Drilon, quoting DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario, said that of the 589,000 registered voters abroad in 2010, not even a half had actually voted in the last election equivalent to 153,323.

The DFA recently reported that they have added up more than 200,000 registered voters almost reaching the 800,000 target.

The 2013 National Expenditures Program has earmarked P105.04 million under the budget of Comelec for the implementation of the law which Drilon authored in 2003 and another P105.04 million under the DOF's budget, said Drilon.

The Comelec, though, estimated a budget of P205.98 million to be able to implement the OAV program.

However, Drilon explained that any unfunded activities and services related to the AOV program that can be done and purchased within this year will be funded under the augmentation to be provided by the Department of Budget and Management in its 2012 budget.

Of the amount P205.98 million, Drilon said, P21 million is allocated for honoraria of personnel who will supervise the OAV program which the Senator found unreasonable.

"We must show some rationality in the allocation of these expenses by doing all what we can to increase the registration, to raise the consciousness among our overseas Filipino voters, and more importantly, to improve the voters' turnout. Hindi nakukuha ang ganitong pagbabago sa biyahe. Nakukuha ito sa communication plan," said Drilon.

"These expenses keep on going up and there are huge amount for honoraria, yet up to now, we don't see efforts to make an effective implementing of the law. That is the money of Juan dela Cruz, and every peso we spend must show desirable result," he added.

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