Every Filipinos have the right and the obligation to vote.
As long as you are a registered voter, is 18 years of age and you are not disqualified by law. You can definitely claim the right for your choice to be counted. Even those with dual citizenship has the right to vote in national elections.
A couple of years ago, it was impossible for Filipinos overseas to do this. All they can do is hope from afar that their countrymen will choose the right leaders who can also help them with their daily plight in foreign lands.
Now, thanks to Republic Act 9189, Filipinos everywhere can have their say. The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 was finally enacted last 2009 during the 12th Philippine Congress.
This year, more than one million voters in different countries around the world can exercise their right to vote. 30 Philippine overseas posts are now automated while 26 posts are still voting manually in person.
For us in Sydney and Canberra together with 24 other posts will utilize the postal manual voting system.
In the postal manual voting system, the ballots will be mailed to your registered address. You are expected to cast your vote and then mail the ballots back to the polling center address also found in the envelope mailed to you.
Here is a video from ABS-CBN TV Patrol on how to use the Postal Manual voting system (for US):
The video may have some things that are only for US audience but the important things to know are:
As a registered voter, you should have received a voting packet by 9 April, 2016.
If you have not receive any, please call (02) 627 32535 extension 221.
Inside the packet, you should have the following inside:
instruction manual and
To vote, get the ballot and shade the circle beside the names of your selected candidate. You can only vote for
1 party list
Use black pen only to shade the circles.
When done, fold and place the ballot back inside the return envelope.
Use the paper seal to stick on top of the envelope flap.
Write your name and sign in front of the envelope.
Only return envelopes mailed with voting packet can be used for voting. NO OTHE ENVELOPES are allowed.
Send through courier or personally drop by the consulate office where you are registered.
All ballots should be returned by May 9 – the last day of voting for absentee voters.
If you do not know which president to vote yet, you can read some articles about their personal characteristics, plans, promises and stand on certain issues.
If you have time, you can watch the only televised debate for vice presidents from CNN:
To know the names of all the 52 candidates for 12 senatorial seats check this list.
Know a little more about your chosen candidates by scrolling down this website here.
It took a great 16 years for the 1987 Philippine constitution provision to become a reality. Let us all use this power to help drive our country towards progress and greater freedom.
Special thanks to The Conversation for the main image.