GMA News Online - Tolentino to Comelec: Make voting easier for Pinoy seafarers

20 January 2021


Senator Francis Tolentino on Wednesday said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should find ways to make voting easier for seafarers, especially those who are aboard vessels during the election period.

"Ang laki po ng nawawalang boto at sila po 'yung gustong bumoto. Ang duty nila, six months-six months... How do we address this problem?" Tolentino said in a Senate hearing.

"Can Comelec device a method on how we should allow the seafarers to exercise their right to suffrage?" he added.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said there is currently a "Vote Anywhere" policy for Filipino seafarers.

"Whatever port they're in, they can actually go to the consular office and actually vote. Ang problema po, tulad ng sinabi ni Senator Francis, ay di naman sila palaging naka-dock," Jimenez said.

Online voting would be one way of addressing this concern but the poll body has yet to establish a system for such because of limited resources, he added.

Tolentino suggested that the Comelec deputize Filipino captains of Philippine-flagged vessels, which are considered part of the country’s territory under the law, to oversee the casting of ballots of the seafarers while at sea.—AOL, GMA News