With only a month to go before it closes, the Philippine Consulate General on Saipan is conducting its final information wave on overseas absentee voting registration and certification.
The consulate calls on all qualified Filipinos on island to become a registered overseas absentee voter so they could cast their ballots for the Philippine national elections on May 13, 2013.
The overseas absentee voting registration, which began on Nov. 2, 2011, will end on Oct. 31, the last day of the consulate, which will close down after over two decades of serving the Filipino community of the Northern Marianas.
Consulate officer-in-charge Jose M. Sto. Domingo noted in a media release issued Thursday that the number of registrants in the CNMI stands at only 320 as of Sept. 15. Of this number, 129 are from Saipan, 105 from Rota, and 86 from Tinian.
The overseas absentee voting registration for the May 2010 national elections recorded 7,169 total registrants, with 46.6 or 3,341 casting their ballots—the second highest turnout among Philippine consulates across the U.S. next to Los Angeles.
The consulate attributes the lower registration turnout to the declining population of Filipinos in the Commonwealth as a result of the federalization of local immigration and the economic recession on the islands.
Guam Consul General Bayani V. Mangibin, in a recent visit to Saipan, said that the Agana consulate will be sending a team to conduct overseas absentee voting on island and would request the Philippine Commission on Elections to do the same to ensure the same voter turnout during next year’s election.
“The registration/certification of qualified Filipino overseas absentee voters at the Philippine Consulate General will continue during office hours from 8am to 6pm except holidays and weekends until the closure of the Philippine Consulate General on Oct. 31, 2012,” said Sto. Domingo.
Those who may register are all qualified Filipino citizens who intend to vote abroad or who will be abroad on May 13, election day; Filipino citizens who will turn 18 years old on or before the day of the election; dual citizens who have re-acquired or retained their Philippine citizenship under the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003; and immigrants or permanent residents who execute an Affidavit of Intent to Return upon filing of an application for registration as overseas absentee voter.
Requirements for registration are a valid Philippine passport and an accomplished application form (OAV Form No. 1), which may be obtained at the consulate or downloaded from www.comelec.gov.ph.
For more information, visit the consulate at the fifth floor of Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe, call 234-1848 or 50, fax 234-1848, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.