Filipinos outside of the Philippines head to the polls on the first day of the month-long overseas absentee voting. Follow our coverage of the polls in the UAE
'Inspiring' overseas voting in UAE
Election fever has kicked in as approximately more than a hundred voters cast their votes in the first hour of the Philippine Overseas Absentee Voting in Dubai. The polls opened at 8am on Saturday.
Nhel Morona, a poll watcher, lauded Filipinos who came early to vote.
"Filipinos warmly received the first day of the elections this month. It's inspiring to see that many of our compatriots heeded the call not to waste their votes," Morona told Gulf News. "The conduct of elections, in general, is okay."
Voters said the voting process was quick and easy. Mary Ann Rosello, an accountant, said she completed the process in less than five minutes.
"One of the factors is because I already know the leaders I want. So that made it easy. What took longer was choosing the party-list representative, I didn't know I had to vote one," Rosello said.
Rosello said she hopes for a more progressive Philippines after this elections.
"I long for a decent Malacanang, for our country to continue to progress," she said, adding, "I urge other voters to vote according to their conscience."
From vows to votes
Arvin and Cherry Duerme cast their votes right after exchanging "I dos" at the Philippine consulate in Dubai.
"It is our right to vote. We have to allot time for it," Mrs Duerme said.
Cherry Duerme wanted to cast her vote at the Philippines Consulate right after she got married there. She said she would be away for a week and wanted to practice her right to vote before she left.Posted by Gulf News on Saturday, 9 April 2016
'I am voting for change'
Among the first to arrive at the poll station at the Philippine Consulate-General were Analiza Gonzaga, 43, and her colleagues. Gonzaga arrived at the consulate at 5am to cast her vote. The local of Davao City said she wanted her voice to be heard and was excited to participate in the overseas voting for the first time.
"I woke up at 4am because I want to vote early. I have work today so I decided to come before my 9am duty," Gonzaga told Gulf News.
"I am voting for change. I am from Davao City. The progress my city has achieved for the past years is the same thing I want to see throughout the country," she said.
Gonzaga urged her compatriots not to waste their vote. She said: "It's easy. Please come and vote." More than 30 people have come to cast their vote in the first 30 minutes after the polls opened at 8am. Guide to overseas Filipino vote
Philippine consul general first to vote
Philippine Consulate-General Paul Raymund Cortes was the first to vote on Saturday to set an example to his compatriots.
"My votes were recognised," Cortes told Gulf News after checking the receipt of his votes registered in the vote-counting machine. "I did my duty. Please tell my kababayans (compatriorts) to do their duty, too."
The consulate is open to serve voters from 8am to 9pm. Info on timings
First voters arrive at consulate
Philippine Consulate-General (PCG) staff members told Gulf News that they are ready to welcome voters until 9pm on Saturday. The first voters arrived at PCG in Dubai at 5am.
Polls open in UAE
Polls opened at the Philippine Consulate-General in Dubai and the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, the first day of the month-long overseas absentee voting for Filipinos.
Every six years, Filipinos back home and around the world get to elect their country’s top leaders.
More than one million registered Filipinos around the world are expected to start casting their votes for a president, vice president 12 senators and a party list group.
The number of land-based eligible voters in the UAE increased by 307 per cent from just 47,720 in the 2010 elections to 194,621 this year, while the number of Filipinos in the UAE rose by 67 per cent, according to the Philippine government estimates.
“The increase in the number of registered voters reflects the increase in the level of political awareness among our compatriots. That is a strong indication that there’s going to be a significant turnout in this election,” Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Constancio Vingno Jr. told Gulf News.
If the registered voters, the majority or 122,185 are from Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Although high registration does not automatically mean higher voter turnout, Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes is still hopeful that more people will actually come out and vote this time.