Carlo's Think Pieces

Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands

I mailed in my vote today

Posted by butalidnl on 23 March 2010

I mailed in my vote for the Philippine elections today. I received the election “kit” about three weeks ago, but I only did it today.  Part of the delay is having to get a stamp pad for the fingerprint. The rest of the delay, I guess, is that  it was still some time till it HAD to be sent in.

Well, I mailed the ballot to the Philippine embassy in The Hague, where it will stay unopened till 10 May. The ballot is an “old fashioned” manual one; you have to write down the names of the candidates you select. On 10 May, the votes will be counted, and the returns will then be sent in to the Philippines.

Obviously, I am a Filipino citizen; although this is really not that obvious, since many Filipinos here in the Netherlands are no longer Filipino citizens.  I “regained” my Filipino in September 2003, and immediately registered to vote. However, during the 2004 elections, I was disqualified from voting because I had not been a Filipino for a whole year by this time. (I thought that this was rather ironic, having been born a Filipino.) Anyway, I was sent election materials in 2007, and now also in 2010.

I was one of those who campaigned for the right of Overseas Filipinos to vote in Philippine elections. I had been campaigning for this right since about 1992, making me one of the few in Europe who campaigned for it that early. I was one of the delegates during the 2001 Overseas Filipino delegation’s visit to lobby for the bill; visiting the President, the Senate, Congress and Comelec during the time. So, when the Overseas Absentee Voting bill passed, followed shortly by the passing of the Dual Citizenship law, I took it as my obligation (and privilege) to “regain” my Filipino citizenship, and register as a voter.

By voting, I affirm my being part of the Filipino nation, and that I am doing my part by participating in the exercise of elections.  I know that many people think that our votes don’t count, and that the rich and powerful will continue to get their way nevertheless. But I believe that every little thing that ordinary citizens do does count.

One Response to “I mailed in my vote today”

  1. In little things, big things will be accompished. Malapit na ang May 10 and I feel, hindi gaano madugo ang eleksyon this year kesa mga past years. Mukhang nag iimprove na ang bansa natin. May the best candidate win and WILL help our poor kababayans back in Phils. All I wish is to have work for everybody so that they can bring meals 3X a day to the family.

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