Press Release
April 11, 2022


Senator Imee Marcos has called for extended office hours at Philippine embassies and consulates to ensure that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can cast their votes in this year's national elections.

Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people's participation, warned that setbacks reported on the first day of voting in Hong Kong, the United States, Italy, and New Zealand may be replicated in other areas where large OFW populations are located.

"Let's not wait for a last-minute scramble to implement remedies. Thousands of OFWs will end up being disenfranchised," Marcos said.

"The immediate solution is to extend voting hours at our embassies and consulates, while the logistical challenges of setting up more voting precincts still have to be sorted out by the Comelec (Commission on Elections)," she added.

Marcos pointed out that government offices abroad did not have consistent voting hours, with some ending mid-afternoon and others extending into the night.

Long lines, the delayed shipment of election paraphernalia, and unreceived mail-in ballots are preventing many OFWs from voting.

Complaints reaching Marcos's office from Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom also revealed that some OFWs still did not know where to vote or that the deadline for voter registration was already over.

"The Comelec and DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) must review the math of accommodating OFWs in different areas daily and within the one-month voting period allotted. It's also not too late to ramp up an information campaign so that OFWs know their precinct assignments," Marcos said.


(Tagalog version)


Nananawagan si Senador Imee Marcos na palawigin ang oras ng pagboto ng mga OFWs sa mga embahada at konsulada ng Pilipinas.

Babala ni Marcos, chairman ng Senate committee on electoral reforms and people's participation, na posibleng maulit ang mga napaulat na aberya sa unang araw ng botohan ng OFWs sa Hong Kong, United States, Italy, at New Zealand sa iba pang mga bansa na may malaking populasyon ng OFWs.

"Wag na nating hintayin na kung kailan 'last-minute' o konting oras na lang ang natitira saka matataranta na maghanap ng remedyo. Libo-libong mga OFW ang mawawalan ng karapatan na makalahok o makaboto," diin ni Marcos.

"Pinakamabilis na solusyon ang pagpapalawig ng oras ng botohan sa ating mga embahada at mga konsulada, habang inaasikaso pa ng Comelec (Commission on Elections) ang iba pang mga problema sa logistics o mga gamit sa pag-aayos ng karagdagang mga 'voting precinct'," dagdag ng senadora.

Tinukoy ni Marcos ang kawalan ng pare-parehong mga oras ng botohan sa abroad kung saan ang iba ay natatapos sa kalagitnaan ng hapon o ang iba ay pinatatagal hanggang gabi.

Ang mahabang pila, pagkaantala ng mga 'election paraphernalia,' at hindi pa natatanggap na mga mail-in ballots ang mga dahilan kaya nahaharang o hindi nakakaboto ang mga OFW.

Maraming reklamong nakararating sa tanggapan ni Marcos mula sa Saudi Arabia at United Kingdom na hindi alam ng mga OFW kung saan boboto o hindi nakapag-rehistro dahil tapos na ang rehistrasyon.

"Kailangan kompyutin ng Comelec at DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) paano masigurong makaboto ang mga OFW sa iba't-bang mga lugar araw-araw at sa loob ng isang buwang inilaan para sa botohan sa abroad," ani Marcos.

"Hindi pa naman huli ang lahat o may oras pa para mabilisang maipabatid sa mga OFW kung saang voting precinct sila nakatalagang bumoto," giit pa ng senadora.

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