29 February 2012, Tel Aviv, Israel – the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv conducted its first field activity in Haifa (northern part of Israel) on 25 February 2012 to intensify its ongoing campaign for the Overseas Absentee Voting Registration.
A team from the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, headed by Third Secretary and Vice Consul Ferdinand P. Flores, the focal person for the OAV, and Mr. Esrom V. Nazareno, commissioned as OAV Project Term Personnel (PTP) for Tel Aviv, met several leaders of the Filipino Community to discuss the importance of the activity. The team disseminated posters, flyers and registration forms in various public places in Central Haifa frequented by Filipino workers.
The Filipino Community leaders in Israel inquired on the possibility of bringing the conduct of the registration in Haifa in order to cater to those Filipinos who have difficulties in accessing the services provided by the Embassy in view of their work schedule and distance of travel. Vice Consul Flores responded that the field registration is among the projects that will be implemented as soon as logistical and technical arrangements have been finalized by the Commission on Elections.
The Embassy launched several efforts to increase the number of registrants for the OAV. The Embassy undertook an OAV information campaign project with Orange, one of the largest cellular / mobile phone service providers in Israel involving a short messaging service message (SMS) sent out to Orange subscribers in Israel (free of charge to the recipient).
Moreover, a new mobile phone with a separate line was acquired late last year solely dedicated to OAV registration inquiries. Likewise, Philippine Embassy personnel have been tasked to disseminate information about and campaign for OAV registrations during their attendance to various Filipino Community activities during weekends.
Since the opening of the OAV registration three months ago, there have been a total of 1651 Overseas Filipinos in Israel who have registered as of 23 February 2012. Per existing records, there are around 90 – 100 new registrants per week on average. The Embassy attributes these figures to its ongoing campaigns and foresees a steady increase on the number of new registrants with the deployment of a project term personnel and field registration.
Vice Consul Flores encouraged all Filipino nationals to register so that they could be eligible to vote in the next elections. He underscored that it is a solemn duty of every Filipino Citizen to vote because it is the only way where the masses can participate in nation building.
Vice Consul Flores clarified that this registration is in preparation for the upcoming midterm elections set for 13 May 2013. He however noted that OAV registrants can only vote for candidates running for Senatorial positions, including Sectoral Representatives (Party List).
He also said that the OAV registration period will end on 31 October 2012 and on this note, he encourages all Filipinos who have not registered yet to come to the Embassy in order to avoid inconveniences brought by last minute registration.