Many migrant workers in Hong Kong who wanted to cast their votes on the first day of overseas absentee voting (OAV) were turned away, a Filipino migrant organization reported.
United Filipinos-Migrante Hong Kong leader Dolores Balladares Pelaez said in a Facebook broadcast the Philippine Consulate in the Chinese territory started refusing voters wanting to cast votes before 12 noon today .
Pelaez said that the five vote counting machines (VCM) sent by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to the territory could not cope with huge number of registered voters who turned up on the first day of the OAV.
“Five VCM are not enough to accommodate the 93 thousand of Filipinos here in Hong Kong. The 10 they sent us in previous elections were not even enough,” she said in Filipino.
Pelaez said they fear that many Filipinos in Hong Kong may be disenfranchised if the COMELEC fails to fix the problem.
“Those refused to cast their votes are very angry. Sunday is the only day they could exercise their right to vote,” Pelaez said.
The OAV in the territory is being held at the Bayanihan Center at Victoria Road, Kennedy town.
WATCH THE FACEBOOK VIDEO HERE: Bayan Muna-Hong Kong
Bayan Muna Representative Ferdinand Gaite called for an immediate investigation of the “chaotic and disorganized” voting in Hong Kong and raised fears of “potential disenfranchisement of thousands of voters.
“We cannot allow the potential massive disenfranchisment of our overseas voters due to the ineptitude and lack of proper organizing by these officials. The slashing of funds by the DBM for the overseas voting must also be looked into,” Gaite said in a statement.
Gaite saidthat he will ask the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms of the House of Representatives to summon the COMELEC, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Hongkong Consular office to investigate the incident.
The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong has yet to issue a statement on the matter. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)