DELAYS ON ADVISORIES ON THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL ELECTIONS FROM PHILIPPINE EMBASSY AND CONSULATES IN CANADA April 10, 2022
Today, April 10th, is the start of the overseas voting for the Philippine elections. Registered voters expect to receive their election packets in the mail, cast their votes and mail back their ballots (or drop them off at the Embassy and consulates) before the end of voting period on May 9, 2022 at 7 PM Philippine time (or local time in Canada). On April 8, COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez announced that ballots will be arriving AFTER April 10 to foreign posts as seen in his response on Twitter to concerned registered voters in the US. The Philippine Embassy in Ottawa and consulate in Calgary have not announced if they had received the ballots.
The consulate in Vancouver posted their advisory on April 8th that it had just received the boxes of ballots from the COMELEC and that once it has prepared the election packets, all registered voters in British Columbia, Yukon, and Northwest Territories may expect to receive their ballots the week of April 10th. The consulate in Toronto posted their advisory on April 9th that they have received their ballots and registered voters in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Western Ontario and Manitoba may expect to receive their ballots beginning NEXT WEEK.
Meanwhile, advisories and instructions on the accreditation of mass media entities were only posted a day or two before the deadline by the Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary consulates and no advisory at all from the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa. Overseas voters in Canada expect to have their election packets in the mail at the start of the voting period set by COMELEC on April 10th. COMELEC and the foreign posts need to provide accessible, timely information and dissemination on all issues of the voting process and must be ready to respond to questions and concerns by email, phone, or via social media.
The Filipino community in Canada has repeatedly raised the alarm on potential voter disenfranchisement in this elections and in previous ones due to the lack of systematic coordination. With the slashing of OAV funds by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), many have anticipated this to take place.
Overseas voters WANT TO VOTE and VOTE ON TIME. We want clean and honest elections. Barriers and challenges to the voting process means one thing: VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT AGAIN.