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PCG gets mandate to oversee month-long election

01 March 2019

OFWs check the voters’ lists to see if they are included.

By Vir B. Lumicao 

It’s all systems go for the month-long overseas voting for Filipinos in Hong Kong this year, after the Consulate received a mandate from the Commission on Elections to act on its behalf in administering the vote.

Consul General Antonio A. Morales and Comelec Executive Director Jose Tolentino signed a memorandum of agreement on Feb 24 relating to the holding of the midterm ballot from Apr 13 to May 13 this year. Filipino voters in Hong Kong will choose 12 senators and one party-list during the month-long election.

Consul Robert Quintin, head of the Consulate’s cultural section, said the MOA gives the Consulate the legal personality to represent Comelec in Hong Kong in conducting the midterm election.

“We did that (signing) to … establish our legal personality to represent Comelec in Hong Kong so we can enter into a contract with Bayanihan for the use of the center,” Quintin said on Feb 26. 

He said the Consulate has come up with a few ideas on how to proceed with the electoral process, but nothing has been made final. He added that a meeting with Filipino community leaders would be called soon to mobilize their support for the election.

In the meantime, his office will start posting more announcements on the Consulate’s Facebook page about the upcoming election to encourage Filipino registered voters to cast their ballots.

The preparations also include recruiting volunteers to serve on the Special Board of Election Inspectors that will oversee the voting in each of the precincts to be set up in Bayanihan Center in Kennedy Town.

Five applications have so far been received by the Consulate in response to its invitation for 18 people to work in the nine SBEIs, each of which will be chaired by a staff from the Consulate, and two volunteers.

The invitation for SBEIs was posted by the PCG on its bulletin boards and on its Facebook page on Jan 31. But the response has been lukewarm, most likely because only Filipino residents are being sought for jobs that will last for just over a month, including training.

Earlier, the Consulate released the Comelec-certified list of 87,441 voters  in Hong Kong.

The number is 6.4% fewer than the 93,049 who had been certified as eligible voters in the May 2016 national elections.

A scroll-down only version of the certified list was initially posted online by the Consulate, and was soon followed by a printed version, accessible in folders placed beside the entrance to the public area.

The list is accessible to the public during the Consulate’s office hours.

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