Low turnout among Filipino absentee voters in Pacific, says vice consul

ONLY 17 percent of registered Filipino overseas absentee voters on Guam, the CNMI, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau participated in the recently held Philippine midterm elections, Philippine Vice Consul to Guam Alex Vallespin said.

He is on Saipan for an outreach mission that started on May 22.

He said there are 13,121 registered Filipino absentee voters under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Consulate General on Guam.

He said of the 2,302 who voted in the midterm elections, 2,264 cast valid ballots. The invalid ballots had erasures or marred by correction fluid and other markings, he added.

He said there was also overvoting — some voted for more than 12 senatorial candidates; and many ballots were returned because voters had changed their addresses or provided the wrong addresses, among other reasons.

The Philippine Consulate General on Guam carries out its outreach mission in the Kristo Rai social hall on Saipan.  Photo by Junhan B. TodiñoThe Philippine Consulate General on Guam carries out its outreach mission in the Kristo Rai social hall on Saipan. Photo by Junhan B. Todiño

On Tinian, Vallespin said, he said one registered voter received his ballot but refused to vote to avoid paying for stamp at the post office.

Outreach

As for their ongoing consular outreach mission in the CNMI, Vallespin said they were on Tinian on May 20 for passport renewals, and to process dual citizenship applications as well as reports of marriage and birth.

On Saipan, they are accommodating passport renewals, including those on the waiting list who may have medical issues. Some need to return to Philippines as soon as possible, so they want their passports renewed, he said.

With Vallespin are collecting officer Maria Liza Manarin, passport officer Julius Checa, consular assistants Ferdinand Villamor and Annabelle Lavarez.