Philippine officials have continually stressed the importance of voting for the future leaders of the Philippines in the May 2016 elections.
Philippine Consulate General in Milan Marichu Mauro has said that in the past years, the problems with OFWs being unable to vote is the fact that some of these sites are inaccessible. However, in Milan, that's not the case.
"It’s not really accessibility because the transportation system is very effective and efficient here in Italy,” said Mauro in an interview with Rappler. “Ang usual na reason nila ay may trabaho sila…It’s more [about] their willingness.”
During the first overseas absentee voting (OAV) in 2004, the turnout was at 65%. Policy-makers considered that figure low at the time given that the government spent more than P112 million for the exercise.
The numbers continued to decline in 2010 and in 2013, with poll numbers only amounting to 25% and 16%, respectively.
There have been several strategies implemented to make voting efficient for OFWs in Italy, mainly through the mixed voting system.
The first option is to mail the ballots to their addresses. For this to happen, one must contact the consulate. The second is to go to the consulate to fill up their ballots directly. Other than these 2 options, ballots will also distributed to voters all over Northern Italy during consular visits.
With these options present, the only remaining challenge is to make Filipinos set aside time to be able to vote.
Mauro has been constantly communicating with Filipino groups in order to encourage them to vote.
“Okay, hindi ka makakapagtrabaho ng ilang oras… by casting your vote, pero napakalaki naman ng kapalit non dahil nakapagexercise ka ng karapatan mong bumoto at napakinggan ang boses mo.” Mauro said.
(Okay, you might not be able to work for a few hours by casting your vote, but the tradeoffs are huge because in exchange for your time, you were able to exercise your right to vote and your voice was heard.)
“Huwag na nating intayin ang Mayo… Nanawagan ako sa mga kababayan ko, go out and vote!”
(Dont wait for May, I am urging my countrymen, go out and vote!)
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