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Thousands more people line up on last Sunday of extended OVR

10 October 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The queue for OVR applicants starts at this nearby bridge, which remained packed by midday

About 1,500 Filipino workers endured exhaustion and hunger today, Oct 10, as they lined up for hours in a last-minute attempt to register as overseas voters for next May’s national elections. 

This is 50% more than the number of those who lined up the past few Sundays, as thousands of Filipinos tried to beat the deadline for overseas voter registration (OVR).

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At 1pm, three female workers at the head of the queue for taking the lift to the Consulate on the 14th floor of the United Centre in Admiralty said they had been lining up since 5am.

By then, about 1,000 people who got there ahead had already been called to go upstairs starting at 9am, according to Filipino community leader and volunteer Marites Nuval.


She said more people lined up for the OVR today than in previous Sundays, when most Filipino migrant workers are off work. The OVR, which has already been extended for two weeks, will last until Thursday, Oct 14.

From the bridge, the registrants are herded to the building's corridors

On Oct 18, the Resident Election Registration Board will convene at 4pm at the Consulate to hear applications for registration/certification, reactivation, transfer of registration, correction of wrong entries filed between Jul 1 and Sept 30 this year.


Those who have objections to the list have until today to file their objections in writing, said Consul Robert Quintin, RERB chairman, in a recent advisory.

Many of those who tried to beat the registration deadline today said they could not do so earlier as they were prevented from going out by their employers due to the coronavirus contagion.


But many others said they did not realize the registration for next year’s presidential vote was ongoing until they were told by friends, or they read about it in the news.

Nuval said when she got to United Centre at 7am, the line had already stretched to the footbridge leading to the government office at Tamar.

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One Consulate staff who was marshalling the lines said there was some fuss earlier in the morning, as it appeared that scores of workers had jumped the queue.

The women who were in front said they were already lining up before 5am outside the United Centre gate when the guard told them to queue up on the footbridge.

When they did as told, new arrivals took up their places at the gate so they were the first to be called to go to the 14th floor in batches of 10 when the Consulate opened for business at 9am.

This explained why a Filipina who finished registering around 1:15pm said she queued up at 6:30am, while another who was some 52 places behind said she arrived at 6am.

The homestretch is the Consulate's public hall, where the applicants have to line up some more

Farther down the line, a group of five young Ilocanas who were squatting on the floor said they joined the queue on the footbridge at 6am and by 1:30pm, they were still about 200 people away from the front.

The five said they had not eaten breakfast and lunch, and only made do with some rolls bought at a nearby store.

Nuval said she was sending up batches of 8 or 10 people each, depending on what she was told by the marshals upstairs. The number depended on how many other people were in the public hall, which is also used by those who have transactions with the Social Security System, Pag-IBIG and other government agencies.

At least three Filipinas said they managed to register online through the Commission on Elections’ Virtual Frontline Service, but they still had to go to the Consulate to have their biometrics taken.

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