Dubai: British expatriate Edric Cate caused quite a stir at the Philippine Consulate-General last week when he cast his vote for the midterm elections. Unknown to many, Cate is only fulfilling his duty to pay homage to his Filipino roots.
Cate took a few minutes out of his lunch break on Tuesday to elect 12 senators and one party-list representative at the consulate. He turned heads as he made his way to the polling station.
“I always expect them to ask me proof of my identity. But to be honest, once I gave my ID and passport, it was all clear. Only the volunteers and poll clerks were surprised. The hall wasn’t packed because it was a Tuesday afternoon,” Cate, 25, who works in shipping and procurement, told Gulf News.
Cate holds dual citizenship. His dad is from the UK while his mum is from Quezon City in the Philippines. But he was born and brought up in the UAE.
“My mum recommended that I vote. I also voted in the previous elections three years ago. It took me a bit longer because I didn’t know who to vote for the party-list. I totally forgot about that part. All of a sudden, Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes was standing right behind me, waiting.”
A photo of Cate casting his vote has now gone viral, which Cate finds surprising. To him, what he did was nothing out of the ordinary. He only did his duty. But to Cortes, Cate did more than that.
“As a young overseas Filipino who grew up in a third culture country, one who has a mixed heritage, Edric shows his resolve to be a useful member of the global diaspora, regardless of where he is and what circumstances brought him to continue being civic-oriented,” Cortes said.
“He shows what it means to become a member of a community who is knowledgeable of the issues that surround his society and is determined to be a responsible citizen of humanity.”
Cortes hopes Cate’s example would encourage Filipinos to follow suit and make time to cast their votes since voter turnout for midterm elections is always dramatically lower than presidential elections.
“I am happy to help if it encourages Filipinos to cast their vote. To some, I guess, the midterm election is not as effective as the presidential elections but still, anything can change. It can still have an impact on the government.”
Filipinos have until May 13 to vote at the four voting centres: the consulate, labour office, Asiana Hotel in Deira and Chelsea Plaza Hotel in Satwa.
WHERE AND WHEN TO VOTE?
May 1 to 12: 8am to 9pm;
May 13: 6am to 2pm.
Philippine labour office:
May 5 to 9: 8am to 4pm
May 12: 8am to 4pm
Asiana Hotel (Deira)
May 4: 9am to 9pm
May 10 and 11: same timings
Chelsea Plaza Hotel (Satwa)
May 1 to 11: 12pm to 7pm.
Philippine Embassy (Abu Dhabi)
Until May 12: 9am to 5pm
May 13: 6am to 2pm.