Saturday, May 11, 2013

Let's Vote In: Overseas Absentee Voting 2013

I was reminded since last week that the election are already on going here in Qatar and any other country. I'm referring to the Philippines National-Local-ARMM Elections and we OFW(Overseas Flipino Workers) are privileged that even we're working away from the country we can still exercise our right to suffrage.
And yesterday after the morning church service, one of my brethren Ate Tin asked us during our lunch if we are a registered voters, and after we agreed to proceed to Philippine Embassy to vote.
It's my first time to visit the Philippine Embassy here in Qatar after they transferred office on January 2013. Honestly, its far from the old office and its not accessible to most people especially if you don't have your own car. You need to spend much riyals for your taxi fare, as I'm calculating yesterday if I will going to take a cab, maybe it may cost 50QR (more or less 550PHP) for one way only. Thanks to Ate Tin and Kuya Noel for the free ride.
But in fairness, the new embassy office is bigger than the old one. There are rooms for each transactions unlike before na talagang siksikan kasi nga sama-sama lang sa iisang rooms. Well, no wonder how much the Philippine embassy is paying for the new office, logically its the people who are paying so we deserved it for our convenience.

Philippine Embassy Doha, Qatar 
St.860 Zone 68, Jelaiah Area
Doha State of Qatar
Click here: MAP LOCATION

Article V Section 1 of Philippine Constitution
"Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year, and in the place wherein they propose to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage."

I remember the first time I voted for Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), vacation that time and we're busy for my cousin 18th birthday so almost everyday nasa practice ako ng cotillion sa bahay nila and most of the participants on the cotillion is an active member already of SK, so in short nung nagkaroon ng registration doon ako nagregister, not knowing what will be its impact. I don't take it seriously basta register lang and don ako bumoto nung nagSK election kaya naman ang ending gusto ko man na magjoin sa mga activities minsan ng mga SK sa lugar namin, hindi ko nagawa....kakahiya naman,hehehe

The Sangguniang Kabataan is the youth legislature in every local village or community. They are in the age bracket of 15 to 18 years old during the time of election. They initiate policies, programs and projects for the development of youth in their respective political territories.

Youths, please do not do what I did. And don't take for granted the right given to you to vote. Don't think na wala kang magagawa or walang magagawa yung nagiisang boto mo, meron and you should participate. Until now, minsan naiisip ko what if I participated actively to SK activities at least man lang siguro I contributed something to my fellow youths. It's not yet late for you. On October 18, 2013 you'll be having a chance again to vote for SK election, don't just throw your right to vote..participate and make a voice.

After that experienced in the SK election, I didn't take for granted all the elections from Barangay to Local to National elections. I remember my Political Science days, one of my professor Mr. Renzon really emphasized how important for us to use our right to vote. According to him walang kang karapatan na magreklamo kung paano ang government system pinapatakbo kasi you didn't participate naman to elections, the point is all the time, means and right to register and to vote was given to us already, so its within us if how we will use that right. I guess exposure with all my Political Science subjects, teachers and moreover meeting friends in my graduate studies influenced me to be aware that the need to exercise such right and to participate in elections. Well, thanks guys!
Yesterday was my second time to participate to OAV (Overseas Absentee Voting) here in Doha, Qatar; the first one was on 2010 Presidential election.

Far different from the elections in Philippines, mas kokonti ang mga voters dito kaya hindi talaga masikip. Like that we have in Philippines, you need to check your precinct number first so you will be guided.
Precinct #1 where I voted

The manner of voting here is still manual, different from what we have in Philippines that you only need to shade and insert in the machine and finish. But as my colleague inform me, its because maybe there is only a small number of voters here compare to Hongkong, they also using automated and using PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines like as in Philippines.
Doha registered voters, don't forget to bring your Qatar ID. You need to present it before they allow you to vote and to sign in line with your name on the voter's list.
While waiting for others and sitting at the lobby, I noticed this informative poster from TFC. I learned from the poster that overseas absentee voters were given one month to vote from April 13 - May 13. Kung sa Pinas one day lang dito one month, siguro naman we don't have any reasons na para di makaboto unless hindi ka talaga nakaregister.

FYI: Mobile and taking pictures are not allowed inside the voting precinct. I already took pictures when I learned it from the one of their staff. Meron palang mga nakapost na bawal ang pagtetelepono at picture hindi ko napansin, sorry po. I asked the staff if she wants to see the picture that I took and delete it kung di talaga pwede yung mga picture na kinuhanan ko, and she said ok na daw basta wag na lang daw magpicture pa, pipicturan ko pa naman sana how I dropped my ballot to the box =)
Instead of indelible ink, they use thumb mark here
People I think is more informed now on where does their votes lead us, maybe one of the reason as well na kahit mainit ang weather, malayo and seems hassle for others, marami pa rin ang bumoboto, unlike the previous (2010) I voted na halos mabibilang lang sa daliri talaga ang nakasabay ko sa pagboto.

some members of Filipino community organization who cast their votes yesterday



Happy Filipino Citizens

Hind kailangan "pag may time" ang pagboto, kailangan bigyan ng time :)

Let's vote in!
Right of suffrage is a right of every Filipino citizens that can have equally. Sa pagboto lahat pantay-pantay, walang mahirap walang mayaman, hindi mo kinakailangan ng diploma or ng salary certificate para magrant. It is one of the privilege given to every Filipino and our way to make our choice of whom we trust our country's future - our future and the next generations' future. 
Exercise your right to vote and help to make a change!

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