13 April 2013, Tel Aviv, State of Israel – The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv headed by Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge opened the Embassy on Saturday, 13 April for the 2013 Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV), signaling the start of the month-long activity which enables qualified Filipinos overseas to participate in the democratic process of choosing national leaders in the country's mid-term national elections (senator and sectoral representatives or party list groups).
"The OAV is a rare opportunity for Filipinos overseas as they are given the chance to participate in state-building by choosing the leaders who will gear the nation towards prosperity and success. This mechanism ensures that our voices will be heard though we are thousands of miles away. Your vote means a lot to the country as it could facilitate vital change in our system which most Filipinos call for," the Ambassador said.
"The voting process is opened for 30 calendar days, starting today 13 April, from 8am-5pm, and will be closed at 2:00pm local time (7:00pm Manila time) on 13 May 2013, giving enough leeway to overseas Filipinos to adjust their busy schedule," the Ambassador emphasized.
"I am calling all registered Filipinos in Israel to exercise their right of suffrage as guaranteed by fundamental laws and enshrined in our Constitution. It is our solemn duty to our country and our collective participation will determine the course of Philippine history," the Ambassador concluded.
With the significant increase in the total number of registrants and as mandated by law, Post created three (3) Special Board of Election Inspectors in which each SBEI (or precinct) will accommodate a maximum of four (4) thousand registered voters.
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) figures show that there are 9,277 approved OAV registrants all over Israel. It will be recalled that Tel Aviv PE posted a total of 5,040 new registrants which is the highest number ever registered in Israel compared to the three individual previous registrations in 2003 (1,518), 2006 (1,288) and 2009 (2,700) .
The Special Ballot Reception and Custody Group and Special Board of Election Inspectors composed of Embassy personnel assembled at the Chancery to facilitate the conduct of the election.
Setting the example, Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge was the first one to cast his vote at the opening hour of the OAV, followed by some members of the Filipino Community and Embassy personnel.
Since the first day of OAV is a Saturday (Sabbath), a strictly religious day of the week in Israel and no public transportation is available, the Embassy gathered a total of six votes. Of human interest, three voters were born in the month of November (Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge, Mr. Angel Gabriel Soriano and Ms. Angie Robles), four in the 1960s (Mr. Angel Gabriel Soriano, Ms. Clarita Conde, both Embassy personnel, Ms. Hilaria Tawagon and Ms. Elizabeth Faguingas, members of the Filipino Community) and two in the 1950s (Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge and Ms. Angie Robles). The youngest voter of the six was Ms. Elizabeth Faguinas who is 44 years old while the oldest voter was Ms. Angie Robles at 57. —END—