Press Releases

OFWs allowed to do internet voting by 2025; COMELEC to grant Salceda request for exemption from election spending ban for Mayon evacuation

August 1st, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) manifested today his full support for the move by the Commission on Elections to allow overseas Filipino workers to vote through the internet by 2025. Salceda made the statement during the meeting of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms today.

“I express my support for the COMELEC’s efforts to allow OFW voting fully through the internet by 2025, contingent on a system that protects secret voting and can be audited,” Salceda said.

Salceda also said he will support the COMELEC’s request, through Chairman George Garcia, to provide funding for internet voting, which was slashed from the National Expenditure Program.

“Of course, we hope the system is anonymized and encrypted, as is the case in the countries that do it best,” Salceda added.

Salceda also asked Garcia if the COMELEC has already conducted a “beauty pageant” for procuring the systems to be used for online OFW voting.

Salceda also cited that “the only country so far with a nationally pervasive electronic voting system is Estonia.”

Garcia confirmed that the COMELEC was given a demonstration of Estonia’s voting system weeks ago.

COMELEC to grant Salceda request for spending ban exemption for Mayon evacuation

Salceda also asked Garcia to clarify when the election spending ban will begin, and told the COMELEC Chair that he has submitted a July 22 request from the COMELEC for the exemption from the spending ban.

“On the election spending ban, what happens to the evacuees? Will we stop feeding them?” Salceda asked.

Garcia replied that “for humanitarian efforts, the COMELEC will surely allow” the activities and that “anyone can submit a request for exemption.”

Salceda replied that he has submitted a letter to the COMELEC on the matter.

In his letter, Salceda wrote that “Evacuation efforts typically follow a 45-day, 90-day, or 110-day period based on historical experience. Because warning signs of an imminent violent eruption come and go, evacuation efforts must continue until volcanic activity clearly subsides or until a violent eruption actually occurs. Until then, evacuees will require food aid, training activities, cash-for-work programs, and other socioeconomic support to replace economic activities they are barred from doing due to the evacuation orders.”

Garcia told Salceda that he could proceed with humanitarian activities during the ban, and assured Salceda that the Commission will “act promptly” on his request.

“Of course, I appreciate the express permission from the COMELEC Chair, and I trust him fully. But, for clarity, we would still benefit from something in writing,” Salceda added.

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