LONDON — Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s Evan P. Garcia identified the bayanihan spirit manifested by Filipinos in the United Kingdom and Ireland during the 2016 National Elections as the crucial element in the successful implementation of overseas voting in London.
“The entire exercise was marked by many selfless acts by our fellow Filipinos to ensure the success of these elections - Embassy personnel who worked non-stop for 32 days, Filipino community volunteers who assisted in sending out mailing packets during a long weekend, media professionals who disseminated accurate information on overseas voting, and countless others,” Ambassador Garcia said. “This is the Filipino bayanihan spirit at work,” he added.
Ambassador Garcia, who chaired the Special Board of Canvassers (SBOC) in London that canvassed election returns for votes cast from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Greenland, said that the 10,040 ballots cast in this election, representing a turnout of 38.03%, has been the highest ever for the Embassy. He said that this turnout complemented the Embassy’s voter registration efforts in 2014 and 2015 that saw the number of registered overseas voters rise to 26,395.
Overseas voting at the Philippine Embassy in London started on April 9 and continued for 30 days, including Saturdays and Sundays. Members of the Special Boards of Elections Inspectors (SBEI) were on 8-hour duty even on weekends and holidays to implement personal voting and undertake batch feeding of ballots received by post. When the Embassy received instructions from Comelec to send out all ballots by post, Embassy personnel, including those from attached agencies and their family members, were mobilized to work after hours and on weekends. Filipino community volunteers augmented them and devoted precious personal time in the days leading to the end of the voting period on May 9.
The efforts by Filipino community organizations and local media professionals were also noted by Ambassador Garcia. “The Embassy is indebted to many Filipino community organizations in the UK and Ireland who have assisted the Embassy in driving interest to register and to vote among their members,” he said. “Media professionals and those who are active in the social media also made it easy for the Embassy to disseminate accurate information and updates on the election process,” he added.
Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, SBOC Chair, announces the results of the canvassing at the Philippine Embassy as Consul General Senen T. Mangalile, Vice-Chair, and Labor Attache Reydeluz D. Conferido, Member-Secretary, look on.
Reception and Custody Group members Marilyn V. Galanza and Katrina F. Ondiano confer as CCS Operator Eric Ricafort initializes the consolidation and canvassing system.
SBEI Chair Kristine Salle announces the results of voting in one of 29 precincts in the UK, Ireland and Greenland.
Poll watchers record the result of the first SD cards canvassed by SBOC.