Saturday, July 4, 2009

April 7, 2009

OAV registration in Saudi Arabia now held daily
04/07/2009 06:13 PM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - The registration for Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) in Saudi Arabia is now being held daily.Under the mandate of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), OAV registration is supposed to be conducted for only five days every week.

However, Filipinos in Saudi Arabia have found it difficult to work with this schedule because most of them work six days a week.This, Philippine Consul General Tago said, prompted them to hold the registration daily starting April 3.“We extended the timing of the OAV registration to increase the number of OAV registrants in Saudi Arabia," he said.

The official said overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Saudi Arabia may now register at the consulate everyday anytime between 8:30 in the morning and 4:30 in the afternoon.“[I hope] extending the OAV registration til Friday, when majority of Filexpats are having their days-off from work, will eventually result into a dramatic increase in the number of registrants," he said.

However, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor said that up to now, they are still using one data capturing machine which makes it difficult for them to register large numbers of applicants at once.He also said that they have been encountering some restrictions being imposed by the Comelec, just like when they were conducting operations in Yemen.

“They approved our request to conduct the field registration in Yemen but in a condition that we have to get at least 200 assured registrants [which] I think is impossible," he said, preventing them to go through with the registration.

Consul General Tago said they have already placed a manned OAV data capturing machine right next to machine-readable passport biometrics capturing equipment at its Consular Section for passport applicants who also want to register.

As of April 3, the turnout for OAV registrants has reached 39,985 – with Asia and the Pacific topping the list with 10,381, followed by America with 10, 208, and Europe with 6,101.On the other hand, the Middle East and Africa placed fourth with 4,242 registered registrants, while the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Manila reported 3,299 and 5,754, respectively. - Ronaldo Concha, GMANews.TV

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