Dubai: Filipinos in the UAE are urged to take advantage of the Overseas Absentee Voter registration process — which can now be done online — to choose their country’s leaders, including the next president in 2016.

The Commission on Elections and Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) in Manila on Wednesday said the Philippine missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, along with 13 other missions in the Mena region, may now register online via

“Overseas Filipinos in the Middle East and Africa can now fill up the forms from the comfort of their homes, workplace, internet cafés, or anywhere they have access to reliable internet connection,” the secretariat said.

Consul Giovani Palec said the registration process applies to new registrants and for those who failed to vote in the past two national elections.

“If you did not vote during the past two national elections or more, most likely you had already been delisted from the voters’ list. You need to have your status reactivated by registering,” Palec told Gulf News.

Palec, however, said that the online registration only facilitates the process of accomplishing the application forms. New registrants and voters who have not given their biometric data yet have to personally appear at the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi or the consulate in Dubai to complete the process.

Overseas voter registration runs until October 31.

The actual 30-day voting period runs next year from April 9 to May 9, 2016.

Palec said getting people to vote is the challenge, not getting people to register. But he remains optimistic.

“We’re encouraging everyone to vote, especially those in Dubai, because we have a relatively large number of voters,” Palec said.

During the 2013 elections, the voter turnout was considerably low as only 3,545 or 6.35 per cent of the 55,842 registered voters in Dubai and the northern emirates voted. This was the first automated elections in the Middle East.

Any Filipino at least 18 years of age by May 9, 2016 can register by filling out the form online. For the biometric capturing, applicants must present their passports or Seaman’s Book for seafarers.

— With inputs from Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent