Saturday, July 4, 2009

March 26, 2009

Pinoys in KSA asked to register for OAV, set example for other OFWs
RONALDO CONCHA, GMANews.TV03/26/2009 07:15 PM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – With just around 700 signing up for the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) exercise since registration opened on Feb. 1 in Saudi Arabia, the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah has appealed anew to members of the Filipino community who have yet to register to avoid the last-minute rush.

"We are now open the whole day every Thursday to give chance to our kababayan to register," said Consul General Ezzedin Tago in Jeddah, referring to the extension of registration hours to accommodate workers during their off-days.

Most Filipinos in Saudi Arabia work the whole day from Saturdays to Wednesdays and half day on Thursdays.As of March 23, only 192 Filipinos have registered in Jeddah and 494 in the capital city of Riyadh.

Despite the low turnout, Tago said he was optimistic that the figures would improve in the coming months, just like in the past. Community groups in the kingdom say one of the main reasons for the low turnout is the lack of information on the OAV registration.

United OFW founding chairman Frank Naval said the embassy in Riyadh and consulate in Jeddah must make an outreach campaign because not all of OFWs have access to the Internet and newspapers.

Naval also said another problem of those in places away from Riyadh and Jeddah is the transport system. Even those in Riyadh find it difficult to go to the Philippine Embassy, which is located at the Diplomatic Quarters.Naval suggested that OAV registrations be held in commercial places such as remittance centers.

In Riyadh, Vice Consul Roussel Reyes said local authorities have granted permission for the embassy to conduct mobile registrations starting on Friday, March 27, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the International Philippine School-Riyadh (IPSR).

Other Filipino community groups in Jeddah such as the Filipino Volleyball League - Jeddah also expressed support to the consulate in disseminating the ongoing OAV registrationThe registration will run until the last day of August 2009. - GMANews.TV

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