MANILA -- Under the Constitution, even Filipinos abroad have the right to select the country's next leaders. This is why the Commission on Elections (Comelec) established the overseas absentee voting (OAV) system.
A week ahead of the start of the OAV on April 13, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez took to Twitter to remind voters and other Filipinos of the facts regarding #overseasvoting, in an effort to debunk myths and misinformation.
"Hindi malalaman ang resulta ng #overseasvoting hanggang hindi natatapos ang voting period on 13 May 2019 (The result for the #overseasvoting will not be officially revealed until May 13, 2019)," Jimenez said.
The Comelec is clear with its procedure to have a sole announcement of election results.
"Kaya wag maniniwala sa mga maagang balitang [na] ‘nanalo na si...! Tapos na ang laban!’ Fake news yan (So do not believe when you hear that there is already a winner [before May 13])," he added.
Voting for seafarers
Meanwhile, Filipino seafarers only need to have a photocopy of their seaman's book to register and vote.
"Ang mga seafarers, can vote anywhere their ship makes port during the #overseasvoting period (Seafarers can vote anywhere their ship makes port)," he said.
Jimenez also suggested other options for those who cannot spare time off work for voting.
"Pwedeng personal o by mail; pwedeng manual o gamit ang voting machine (It can be personal or by mail. It can be manual or with the use of a voting machine)," he said, depending on where the voter casts his vote.
Recent data from the Comelec showed that 1,376,067 overseas Filipino voters have registered worldwide out of the 54.4 million registered voters in the country.
Among them, 1,326,728 are land-based voters, while 49,339 are seafarers.
Most of the overseas voters hail from the Middle East and Africa, totaling 887,744. While an overwhelming number of overseas voters come from this region, majority are based in the Middle East. There are nations in Africa where there are less than 10 Filipinos registered to vote, like Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, and Guinea.
A little less than half of this number are voters based in the Asia-Pacific region. A total of 401,390 voters are expected to vote from the region.
In North and South America, meanwhile, 345,417 are registered to vote. Lastly, 187,624 Filipinos are expected to vote in Europe.