Filipino chaplaincies offered as OFW polling centers

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The contry gears up for the upcoming May 2016 national elections. (Photo: CBCP News)

MANILA, Feb. 5, 2016— Catholic bishops called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to make voting easier for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by turning Filipino chaplaincies into polling centers.

“Now as we allowed polling precincts in malls, will there be possibilities to use Filipino chaplaincies in those countries [with low voter turnout] as polling places,” said Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos.

Low turnout

The same suggestion was also made by some bishops during the recent CBCP plenary assembly in Cebu City where Comelec chairman Andres Bautista was among the resource speakers.

According to the prelate, the low turnout of OFW votes in the past elections were due to several factors such as difficulty in leaving work and distance from polling areas.

“Most OFWs cannot vote because of distance and travel expenses,” said Santos, who is also chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.

More polling places

Santos said Filipinos have to travel for hours and pay for high fares in order to exercise their right to suffrage.

While Philippine embassies and consular offices are designated as polling centers for OFWs, additional polling places in Filipino chaplaincies may be needed, said the prelate.

He added Bautista welcomed the suggestion and that the Comelec will take it into consideration. (CBCP News)

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