Comelec assures funding for overseas voting ballots
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will release funds for the postage fees of official ballots pending delivery to Filipinos abroad for the overseas absentee voting, a Comelec official said Friday.
In a statement, the poll body’s Director of the Office for Overseas Voting Elaiza Sabile-David said the Comelec is the agency responsible in the release of funds as mandated under its memorandum of agreement with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Sabile-David issued the statement after some Filipinos abroad have reportedly yet to receive their official ballots from the diplomatic posts in their respective countries due to lack of funds for the postage fees.
Postage fee is the amount charged by a governmental postal service to transport letters, packages, and others.
In a tweet on Friday, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the commission approved more funds for overseas ballots last Wednesday.
— Rowena V. Guanzon (@commrguanzon) April 26, 2019
“Comelec En Banc approved additional funds for postage for overseas ballots pursuant to our MOA with DFA. No worries about (the) delay. We have 17 days until May 13. Ballots are in the posts now,” she said in a separate tweet.
In case of insufficiency of funds, Sabile-David said additional funds for postage fees shall be released to Posts subject to compliance of the following documentary requirements under the MOA:
-Actual program of expenditures, as certified by the Finance Officer of the Post
-Actual list of registered voters, as certified by the Finance Officer of the Post
-Certification on insufficiency of funds, as certified by the Finance Officer of the Post
-Report of the Office for Overseas Voting on insufficiency of funds, as signed by its Director.
Registered voters abroad may proceed to the Philippine embassy or consulate to cast their vote.
Overseas Filipinos can also opt to have their ballots mailed to their addresses and mail them back to their diplomatic posts.
Overseas absentee voting started on April 13, and will end on May 13.
Based on Comelec records, there are some 1.8 million registered overseas Filipino voters, majority of them in the Middle East and African regions. /gsg