Ople Center urges OFWs to register as absentee voters before August 31 –
Former labor undersecretary Susan Ople urged overseas Filipinos to avail of the remaining five day-period to register as overseas absentee voters so that they can help shape the outcome of the 2010 presidential race.
The daughter of the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople said the OFWs constitute a potent political force especially if they are able to use their influence to sway their families into backing a certain presidential candidate.
“lf around 600,000 Filipinos abroad qualify as absentee voters, they can easily persuade at least four other voters back home which is a very conservative estimate, giving a preferred candidate at least 2,500,000 votes. In a very tight race, 2.5 million votes can become a deciding factor,” Ople said.
The head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center noted that majority of overseas Filipinos are not too enamored with national or local politics. “They have voted with their feet to seek change for their families as participants in other economies. The cynicism is deeply rooted, and so the challenge for every aspiring president is to how to be perceived as the leader most likely to turn things around,” she said.
Meanwhile, the campaign to get more OFWs to register would have to go on overdrive.
“We would like to request our labor attaches to formally notify each and every foreign employer registered with their office about the remaining 5-day registration period. Such notification must come with a direct appeal for these employers to allow their Filipino workers to visit the embassy so that they could register as absentee voters,” Ople said.
The Blas F. Ople Center, in partnership with DZMM Teleradyo, recently organized the “Usapan OFW: A Leaders’ Forum” which featured 4 presidential aspirants, namely, Senators Chiz Escudero, Mar Roxas, Loren Legarda and Jamby Madrigal to drum up more interest in the 2010 polls among OFWs.
Ople said her center has also sent out appeal letters through the graduates of the Tulay Program, a computer literacy project in partnership with Microsoft and OWWA that caters to OFWs and their families. END