House of Representatives (Ellson Quismorio/ MANILA BULLETIN)
A measure allowing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to vote online has been approved Tuesday, Aug. 1 by the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms.
The proposal, embodied in House Bill (HB) No.6770, seeks to further amend Republic Act (RA) 9189, otherwise known as the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, as amended by RA 10590, otherwise known as the Overseas Voting Act of 2013.
OFW Party-list Rep. Marissa Magsino sponsored HB No.6770 during a hearing of the suffrage panel Tuesday afternoon. She was the principal author of the bill.
Should it get enacted, the measure will allow OFWs and seafarers to vote via the Internet, as well as to register via electronic means.
Magsino, in her sponsorhip speech, said Internet voting will encourage more OFWs to participate in the election process and play an active role in shaping the nation’s future.
Attending the hearing as a resource person was Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman George Garcia. He said he was “100 pecent supportive of this proposed legislation”.
Citing Comelec data, Magsino said that only 1.69 million out of the 12 million overseas Filipinos registered to vote in the 2022 presidential elections. Only around 600,000 or 38 percent of this number actually voted.
The Comelec spent P470 million for the OFW election in last year’s polls.
Magsino said that enacting a law on other means of voting “will provide a more specific statutory basis for the Comelec’s exercise of its authority thereby avoiding any potential questions of interpretation of the law”.