An Open Letter to all Philippine Consulate Generals in the U.S: Ensure the Rights of Overseas Voters to Participate in Clean and Honest Elections
To All Philippine Consulates, Offices for Overseas Voting, and Commission on Elections (COMELEC),
On behalf of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and community members who raise the issues regarding the facilitation of the election process, we write this letter seeking you to take responsibility and address the untimely and confusing updates regarding the voting process, unevenness in response and transparency, and the lack of regular consular services offered commensurate to the needs of Filipino migrants. Not addressing these concerns have resulted in voter disenfranchisement and robs our community of an opportunity and avenue to contribute to change that we want to see.
Many have raised frustrations about the inability to schedule appointments for consular services that have led to the inability to have proper documentation for voter registration and delay in receiving information and ballots for voting. The lack of accessibility for overseas voting and inconsistency in communication has led to the prevention of Filipinos overseas from exercising their ability to participate in this democratic process.
We urge you to not sit idly and neglect us at this pivotal moment in our history because this ultimately contributes to the worsening conditions of our society. In the past years we have witnessed the inadequate responses to calamities which lead to homelessness and hunger, neglect that increases poverty, and the violation of people’s rights. As we continue to witness our fellow Filipinos and Kababayans endure hardship and struggles, we now take this step to encourage meaningful change.
We believe that our community deserves change and we want clean, honest, credible, and meaningful elections towards a new administration capable of sensible and effective response to the crisis we are facing. We urge you to ensure and protect the rights of overseas voters to participate in clean and honest elections by:
- Providing immediate updates to voters on when they can expect their ballots
- Immediately providing transparent and timely information on social media and websites regarding the voting process including the mechanics of counting votes
- Ensuring voters’ right to cast their ballot and attempt to resolve any address or delivery issues including lost or damaged ballots or ballots rendered void by error
- Increasing and regularizing consular outreach to areas without a consulate commensurate with the number of Filipinos within the jurisdiction
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