09/01/2009 11:12 PM
Abu Dhabi: More than 17,000 Filipino expatriates in the UAE have registered as Overseas Absentee Voters (OAV) for Philippines general elections, to be held in April-May 2010, the Philippine Embassy told Gulf News Tuesday.
More than 12,000 people in Dubai and 5109 in Abu Dhabi registered on Monday which was the last day of the registrations, Noel Servigon, Charge d'Affaires at the embassy.
He said the number of registrations has gone down, compared to previous elections for which about 30,000 people had registered in the UAE.
"We have to analyse the reasons behind the decline in numbers," Servigon said.
"We are happy that Filipino expatriates are taking part in the democratic process back home", he added.
Dubai was the third largest overseas registration centre in the world, after Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
There are about 300,000 Filipinos in the UAE, but only about 6 per cent of them have registered as OAV's. The Philippine Embassy has been working during the weekends over the last month to facilitate the registration.
About 50 people used to register everyday at the embassy since the registration began on February 1, Victor Espanola, Administrative officer at the embassy who was in charge of the registration said.
But the embassy witnessed a huge rush on the last day of registrations on Monday, August 31.
"About 286 people, the largest number of people on a day, registered on the last day", he said.
He said the Philippine election commission would issue the 'voters identification cards', two or three months before the elections.
Voters can collect the cards from the country's Embassy in Abu Dhabi or the Consulate General in Dubai.