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ABSENTEE VOTING FOR SEA GAMES DELEGATES URGED

The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party list on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to allow members of the Philippine delegation to the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to avail of local absentee voting privileges.

“Our election day is only three days away from the SEA Games, and by then our delegates will be in the thick of preparations for the Games. Most, if not all, would have already left for Hanoi,” said PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles.

There are 987 members of the Philippine delegation to the SEA Games, consisting of 646 athletes and 296 coaches and officials.

“Allowing the members of our Philippine team to avail of local absentee voting privileges would enable them to participate in the SEA Games and at the same time also participate in deciding the future of our country. Let us not disenfranchise them because, after all, they will be away on official business representing our flag,” she added.

There are 987 members of the Philippine delegation to the SEA Games, consisting of 646 athletes and 296 coaches and officials.

Philippine team chef de mission Ramon Fernandez previously said that majority of the delegation will take direct flights to Hanoi via Philippine Airlines, while about 140 members will take the Singapore route via Singapore Airlines, where they will have several hours of layover before going to Hanoi.

Nograles appealed to COMELEC to grant the “special request” considering the circumstances of the SEA Games, which was supposed to be held last year but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“First time yata na ganito kadikit ang election day natin sa SEA Games, or any other international sports meet for that matter. Sana pagbigyan ng COMELEC ang hiling natin at sana moving forward ay isama na sa listahan ng persons eligible to avail of local absentee voting ang ating national athletes who will be competing on or near the elections,” the Davaoeña lawyer said.

Local absentee voters cannot vote for local posts. They can only vote for president, vice president, senators, and party-list group.

Currently, Comelec Resolution No. 10725 only allows the following to avail of local absentee voting:

  • members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) who will be assigned to perform election duties in places where they are not registered voters;
  • media practitioners who will not be able to vote on May 9, 2022, because they are covering the conduct of elections; and
  • government officials and employees, including those who will be assigned abroad to perform election duties.

Local absentee voting will be held from April 27 to 29. Some 84,000 government workers, police and soldiers, and media workers will be allowed to vote before the rest of Filipino voters because they will be working on May 9.

Local absentee voters cannot vote for local posts. They can only vote for president, vice president, senators, and party-list group.

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