The Philippine Consulate in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: The countdown to the Philippine general elections is about to begin and the deadline for the Overseas Voters Registration (OVR) is on September 30. This is the reminder by Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes as he urged his kababayans (compatriots) to exercise their right to vote.

Cortes said it is both a right and civic duty of every Filipino citizen to vote. “Next year (May 2022), we will choose leaders who will assume important roles in charting the course of the future of the Philippines. By actively participating in the elections we get the voice to advocate for our goals and aspirations – for ourselves, our community, and even the future generation of Filipinos. By voting, we have the power to make decisions that can affect our community and our country,” he told Gulf News.

Overseas voting

The next Philippine general elections – set to take place on May 9, 2022 – will select the successor of President Rodrigo Duterte. Philippine overseas voting, however, will run for one month from April 10 to May 9, 2022. Registered Filipino voters residing and working abroad can join in the month-long overseas voting at Philippine missions to choose the next president, vice-president, 12 senators and a party-list representative.

“We, at the Consulate General of the Philippines in Dubai, would like to encourage Filipinos in Dubai and Norther Emirates to register as overseas voter in order for them to participate and cast their vote in next year’s elections. The deadline for registration is on September 30,” Cortes underlined.

Those who cast their vote during the 2016 national and 2019 mid-term elections need not register but those who will register for the first time should visit the Philippine Consulate as personal appearance is required to collecct biometric data. To set an appointment for registration, email ovs@pcgdubai.ae.

Registration deadline

The deadline for registration is on September 30. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs – Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA- OVS), meanwhile, said: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipinos who are experiencing difficulties travelling to the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate for voter registration/ voter record concerns may avail of the Comelec (Commission on Elections)-Office for Overseas Voting’s (OFOV) Virtual Frontline Services (VFS).”

The VFS, however, pertains only to transactions where the applicant has existing voter registration records with complete biometric data such as: Certification as an overseas voter (this pertains to those who have existing voter records in the Philippines and are now applying to vote abroad); reactivation of overseas voter registration records (OVRRs); updating of addresses and contact information; and transfer of voting records between different international locations and from overseas back to the Philippines.

How to register

Interested VFS applicants can fill up their application form (OVF-1) by using the i-Rehistro system on Comelec’s website https://irehistro.comelec.gov.ph/irehistro/ovf1 and submit the scanned copy of their duly accomplished OVF-1 by sending an email to ov.concerns@comelec.gov.ph.

Upon receipt of the application, Comelec-OFOV will schedule a videoconference with the applicant for identity verification. However, new registrants as overseas voters and those whose biometric data have yet to be captured are required to set an appointment and personally appear at their nearest Philippine embassy or consulate.

The deadline for registration for Philippine general elections voting is September 30.