Kapamilya Stars, TFC and COMELEC Unite to Urge Filipinos Abroad to Register for 2013 Election
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs Overseas Absentee Voting secretariat (DFA-OAVs) reported recently that the total number of new overseas absentee voter (OAV) registrants for the 2013 Philippine elections broke several records at the close of registration booths across the world. According to DFA-OAVs official statement, the total number of OAV registrants reached a record-breaking 988,384 this year. Of this figure, 398,554 are new registrants while 589,830 are returning registrants.
According to DFA Undersecretary and OAVs Chairman Jose Brillantes, the increase can be attributed to the efforts of embassies, consuls, missions and Muslim Economic and Cultural Offices (MECO) all over the world and the strong support of premier global Filipino media network, The Filipino Channel (TFC). As early as September 2012, DFA – OAVS has already officially recognized TFC's pivotal role. In a press statement, Undersecretary Brillantes said "through the promotion of TFC, voter registration notably increased. With the efforts of TFC, specifically the voice of iconic celebrities, we saw significant improvements in voter registration through this promotion."
In 2011, overseas absentee registrants only accounted for 12% of the entire population of Filipinos overseas. Historically, OAV registration peaks prior to presidential elections. According to the DFA-OAVS secretariat, the registration for the 2013 elections exceeded records for new OAV registrants for three registration periods - the 2004 Senatorial Elections (364,187); the 2007 Senatorial Elections (143,236); and the 2010 Presidential Elections (235, 950). DFA-OAVs' partnership with TFC, as well as with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) headed by Chairman Sixto Brillantes, encouraged Filipinos outside the Philippines to register through various avenues and with this, hoped to increase registration turnout. Supporting the global OAV registration campaign were Kapamilya stars headed by multi-awarded talk show host Boy Abunda, multi-faceted actress Pokwang; Prince of Pop Eric Santos, singer-director Randy Santiago and superstar actor-singer-producer Piolo Pascual.
Piolo Pascual walks the talk
As a true ambassador of overseas absentee voting, Piolo Pascual, took time out from his busy schedule to register last October 12 at the Comelec Satellite Office within District 4 of Quezon City. District Officer Rosalinda Radin welcomed and praised Piolo for performing his civic duty.
All in all, these top-rate Filipino Kapamilya entertainers, TFC, DFA – OAV, as well as the Comelec, were one in saying that overseas Filipinos' votes make up a collective voice that needs to be heard by the government and the motherland. The stars conveyed this message in a public service announcement (PSA) that was aired on TFC in the Middle East, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Japan, Australia-New Zealand, Canada and the U.S., on print collaterals, on TFC's Facebook pages across the world, on DFA's official website, and in some TFC events, all carrying the battle cry "Boto Mo, Kinabukasan ng Bawat Pilipino."
Worldwide call for Filipinos to take charge of their future
The on-ground campaign started at the historic Para Sa Inyo Kapamilyan concert in Carson City, California and at One Kapamilya Go! sa in Nice, France, where the Overseas Absentee Voting Act was promoted by Consuls and Consuls General with their staffs in the region.
In the TFCKat auditions of ABS-CBN Japan Inc., the Consulate of Osaka headed by Consul Dominique Imperial reported the successful registration of 50 percent of the overseas Filipinos who lined up to audition in TFC's first reality singing competition. After Japan, the ABS-CBN Australia Pty Ltd. Team assisted the nearest consulate by providing an area for the overseas absentee registration during its highly anticipated TFCKat finals in Melbourne, Australia.
At the sold-out ASAP Rocks in Singapore, TFC and the Philippine Embassy in Singapore represented by Vice Consul and Third Secretary Oliver Delfin scored an above-average turnout of nearly a hundred registrants. Atty. Delfin was called on stage to promote the PSA and invite concert attendees to register.
In a surprising turn of events, no less than Optical Media Board Chairman Ronnie Ricketts visited the OAV booth set by TFC for the Embassy in Singapore. Much to the delight of the the Filipinos, Ricketts and his wife – former singer Mariz – and their kids showed how fast and easy it was to register
TFC is one with Filipinos' journey through life overseas
According to ABS-CBN Global Ltd. Chief Operating Officer Raffy Lopez, "By taking part in this endeavor with DFA-OAVs and COMELEC, TFC helps ensure that the voices of overseas Filipinos wherever they may be, are heard by our public officials. Filipinos abroad have the power to impact the future of our nation and even where they reside currently. We at TFC will always be there to help them be heard."
At the close of the registration period, final figures showed that a total of 57, 125 Filipinos were registered in the Americas; 58,667 in the Asia and the Pacific; 40,622 in Europe and 71,970 in the Middle East and Africa and 170,170 from local OAV centers.
The registration started in November 2011 and ended in October 31, 2012. The successful registrants can vote for their chosen senators and party-list representative in the state, city or country where they registered come May 2013.