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Overseas voting registrants continue to swamp Consulate

04 October 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

After lining up for hours, most would-be registrants still managed to remain cheerful

More than a thousand Filipino workers lined up again at the Consulate Sunday, as the overseas voter registration resumed after a two-day halt.

The registration of voters was supposed to end on Sept 30, but a last-minute decision by the Commission on Elections allowed the list-up abroad for the May 2022 presidential vote to continue until Oct 14.

Before 4pm, more than 400 were still queued up on the second floor corridors of United Centre building where the Consulate officers are, and on the attached footbridge leading to the government offices at Tamar.

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The extended area served as the holding place for the registrants, who were called in batches of 20, then led to the PCG conference room where they were to wait for their turn to approach the service counters.

Tired but determined, the registrants sit in the corridors while waiting to be allowed upstairs

In the public hall where the registration counters are, Consulate staff who were done with the day’s transaction helped the OVR Team led by Consul Bob Quintin to arrange chairs in rows of 10, in preparation for seating the crowd downstairs.

Consul Quintin later confirmed that the crowd was as big as the one the previous Sunday when more than 900 people came to register, forcing staff to stay beyond 1am.


“Probably the same as last time,” Quintin said when asked about what time he expected to finish registering the batch that made it to the cut-off time of 4pm.

According to those who patiently lined up to enlist for the election, those in front of the queue had arrived as early as 3am. The early birds had to wait on the footbridge for the United Centre security to open the gates into the building.

A number came by on Saturday, hoping that the Consulate would be open for registration as in the past four weeks, but were told to return the next day.


Unlike in the past few weeks, no queuing numbers were provided to the registrants, but they were dispatched up to the Consulate in batches of 20, double the size in previous Sundays.

Consulate staff ready the chairs where the ones who made it to the cut-off time will sit

At 3pm, the queue that snaked through the second-floor corridors, down the stairway and out onto the footbridge numbered about 500. Many of them sat on the floor after standing for several hours on the bridge.

Nasa pila na kami kaninang 7 o’clock pa. Doon kami nagsimula, malapit sa malaking building,” said one of the women. (We were on the queue since 7 o’clock. We joined the line near the large building.)

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Asked why they didn’t apply to register in the early days of the OVR, they said they were too busy. But others were not shy to say it was due to an old habit to procrastinate.

"Alam nyo naman tayong mga Pinoy, last minute,” she said with a grin. (You know how we Pinoys are, last minute.)

But others, especially the new arrivals, said they only recently heard that the registration for next year’s election was already underway.

Queuing on this bridge started as early as 3am

Many of those on the queue said this is the first time they will be voting in Hong Kong. Some said they were not yet here in the 2019 midterm elections. Others said they did not vote in the previous polling exercise.

But all were determined to get their voices heard in the upcoming election, when they get to help choose the country's president, vice-president senators, and a party-list, whose nominee/s may get the chance to sit in the House of Representatives.


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