As the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA OVS) and the Commission on Elections Office for the Overseas Voting (COMELEC OFOV) announce that overseas voting turnout has broken past election records this week with 303,103 total voters to date, the two agencies acknowledged The Filipino Channel (TFC) and the network’s continued support for overseas voting in the recently concluded “Media Recognition Night” held at Macapagal Avenue in Manila, Philippines.
A few days before the closing of the overseas voting on May 9, Manila time, COMELEC OFOV Chairman and Commissioner Arthur Lim awarded the plaque of recognition to TFC, represented by Ailene Averion, ABS-CBN managing director for Asia Pacific, for helping the agencies surpass the 1 million mark (1,376,067) of registered voters for purposes of the national and local elections, through concerted efforts. Commissioner Lim said: “We give credit where credit is due. Without media, all these strides that have been taken, among them, breaching the 1 million registered voter mark, would not have been fruitful. It was through media, that voter information; voter education; and interest in overseas voting were really developed and encouraged.”
As part of its thrust to be that veritable companion in overseas Filipinos’ journey overseas as they build a future for themselves and their families, TFC first entered into a partnership with DFA OVS and COMELEC OFOV in 2012 for the propagation of OFs’ right to suffrage, key to enabling them to choose the next leaders. For the 2012 registration and 2013 elections, the three organizations jointly developed the campaign “Boto Mo, Kinabukasan ng Bawat Filipino” which tells of how the future of every Filipino lies in their hands.
Through its reach across North America, Europe, Oceania, Middle East, and the rest of Asia; and its multi-platform coverage from internet protocol television (IPTV), satellite, cable and online (TFC.tv); including its community engagements via theatrical and special events, TFC has brought the campaign multi-fold.
In 2015, the prestigious PR Society of the Philippines (PRSP) recognized the campaign for effectively reaching the most number of Filipinos, convincing these registered OFs to register and helping the agencies to convert them into voters.
On the same year, DFA OVS and COMELEC renewed ties to support the 2016 elections, yet again. Starting with the registration campaign, TFC shared with OFs all over the world about how they have the right to choose the country’s next government official; that their vote matters despite their distance; and the two agencies have made it easier for them to register via the irehistro campaign led by broadcast journalist Atom Araullo.
This year the campaign takes on a new phase by leveraging on the power of social media, specifically the selfie, to engage the OFs to paint a better picture of the Philippines through their own posts. With two public service announcements dubbed “Selfie” and “Groufie,” TFC encouraged OFs to take selfies of themselves or their families and loved ones, with a background of what they want changed in the Philippines and post it on their social media networks using the hash tag #Vote4ASelfieWorthyPH
Celebrities have heeded the call and have shared their own thoughts on the coming elections:
• “It’s Showtime,” "Sakto," and “Umagang Kay Ganda” host Amy Perez; comedienne – actress Marietta “Pokwang” Subong,” actress and “TFC Connect” host Dimples Romana; PBB Teen Housemates Joj and Jai; and comedienne Kitkat
• Icons and emerging artists from the music industry such as Inspirational Diva Jamie Rivera, and “The Next Big Diva" Morissette
• News personalities such as TFC’s overseas voting campaign ambassador "Red Alert" host, and highly popular broadcast journalist Atom Araullo; TV Patrol anchor and Sagip Kapamilya advocate Bernadette Sembrano; and respected broadcast journalist, and overseas Filipino advocate Jing Castañeda, award-winning broadcast journalist and "Bandila" host Julius Babao, “Mismo” host Awhel Paz; ANC’s Mornings@ANC host and widely followed reporter Ginger Conejero, TV Patrol’s Tara Grets host Gretchen Fulido; "Magandang Gabi Dok" host Niña Corpuz; and highly respected ANC anchor Cathy Yang
• Umagang Kay Ganda, ABS-CBN Sports + Action, and DZMM Teleradyo’s Tina Marasigan; abs-cbn.com, ANC & DZMM’s Barbie Salvador; as well as My Only Radio For Life’s (MOR 101.9), DJ Chacha, and comedian-host and “Pangako Sa `Yo’s” DJ Jai Ho
• Music Myx VJ Ai dela Cruz and Boto Mo, Patrol Mo (BMPM) ambassador Gretchen Ho
Through the help of these selfies, TFC hopes to help the two agencies gain momentum in the last few days. As of today, there are 303,103 registrants who have cast their votes versus last election’s 118,823 voters end of period in 2015, and which has already beaten the turnout in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013.
Voting is open for Overseas Filipinos until May 9 Manila time. OFs can go to their nearest Philippine Embassy, MISSION or Manila Economic and Cultural Office and bring their valid passport and ID. For dual citizens, they can bring the original or certified true copy of the order of approval of their application to retain or require allegiance issued by the post or the Bureau of Migration. For seafarers, they can bring a copy of their seaman’s book and valid ID.
OFs can also continue to participate in TFC’s overseas voting campaign and post a scene or scenario they want improved in the homeland, use the #Vote4ASelfieWorthyPH and post on their social networking sites. For more information, visit, news.abs-cbn.com/Halalan2016/OV