Press Release
November 8, 2012


During debates on SBN 3312, which seeks to amend the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 (RA 9189), Senator Edgardo J. Angara emphasized that overseas voters should be able to use postal mail, fax, email and other secure online means in casting their ballots for Philippine elections.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noted that only around 153,000 out of the 589,000 overseas Filipinos registered actually voted in the 2010 Presidential elections, despite efforts from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Commission on Elections to set up voting centers across the globe. The veteran lawmaker explained one of the practical difficulties of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act is that the voter would have to go to the consulate or embassy twice: once to register and another to cast their ballot.

"Just imagine a Filipino working in Iowa," Angara said. "The closest consulate to him or her is Chicago. That's almost eight hours of driving. Effectively he would use at least two working days. And as we know, our people work two or three jobs in America, and they're paid by the hour.

"Sad to say, it can be burdensome to vote. That's true not only in America, but also true for Filipinos working in other distant places like Japan."

Angara cited the efficient voting system in the United States, saying, "Despite Hurricane Sandy, they were able to cast their votes through fax and email."

He added that our country is at a worse situation, being at the risk of landslides, floods, cyclones, drought, earthquakes, and volcanoes.

"That's why we'd like to authorize, on an experimental basis, other alternative means of voting. With the information and communications technology available to us today, I don't see why we shouldn't adapt such modern means," said the former UP President.

Angara is the Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE). He is the author of Overseas Absentee Voting Act, which provides for efficient and effective modes of voting to overseas Filipinos.

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