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Overseas Pinoys start voting on April 13

12 April 2019

In Hong Kong, Consulate officials lead the testing of the votng procesures, venue and equipment.

Qualified overseas Filipino voters will start casting their ballots on Saturday, April 13, for the mid-term elections for senators and party-list representatives.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said 1.82 million Filipinos working or living abroad have registered for the month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV). Of this number, 1.78 million are land-based while 43,033 are seafarers.

The Middle East and African region has the highest concentration of OAVs with 887, 686, followed by Asia-Pacific region, including Hong Kong, with 401, 380. North and Latin American Region has 345, 418 while the European region has the least OAVs of 187, 621.

Bulk of the seafarers are in the European region with 22, 430, followed by North and Latin American region with 10, 471. While the Middle East and African region has the most number of land-based OAVs of 885, 216, it has the least number of seafarers with 2, 470.

The overseas absentee voters have to go to the nearest embassy, consulate or other voting centers designed by the Comelec to cast their ballots between April 13 and May 13.

If they could not personally vote, the law allows them to send their ballots through the postal service.

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Casting of ballots for the OAV voting will end on May 13, the day the nation votes for its next set of lawmakers and local officials.

Most of the 1.8 million Filipinos abroad who are registered voters are living or working in Saudi Arabia, United States, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Participation by overseas Filipinos in national elections has been improving since the OAV law was enacted in 2003.  This has prompted candidates to include countries hosting large numbers of Filipinos in their campaign sorties. Administration and opposition senatorial candidates have separately campaigned in Hong Kong.


Rep. John Bertiz of party-list ACTS-OFW is the lone representative of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) although critics have questioned his qualification, noting his ownership of a recruitment agency, Global Asia Alliance Consultant that had been suspended due to complaints.

In a statement, Bertiz urged Filipinos abroad to exercise their right of suffrage and vote for candidates who “could best represent and work for their interest and welfare.”

“We are appealing to our compatriots, especially OFWs who comprise the bulk of Filipinos stationed abroad, to take advantage of this opportunity and to choose the right leaders for our country,” he added.           

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The party-list representative said overseas absentee voters could influence the voting results for senatorial candidates and party-list groups if they would all vote.

“The effort and time it took them to register would be put to naught if they fail to vote,” he said.           

Bertiz also appealed to OFWs to vote for party-list groups that could truly work for their welfare and that of their families, push for their advocacies and protect their rights.


“There are some people who just want to get elected, but actually have no concrete plans or proven track-record in helping our migrant workers. Let us choose candidates who genuinely care for OFWs and their families, those who truly understand their struggles and dreams,” said the former OFW in Saudi Arabia.

He urged his constituents “to use our power to elect leaders who embody our ideals and who will push for the betterment of our lives.”


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