The overseas voting registration (OVR) for Filipino expatriates in Doha has been extended for two more weeks, from October 1 to 14, the Philippine embassy has said. The decision from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was communicated by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Voting Secretariat to the embassy in Qatar.
“The embassy will continue to accept registrants during this period (October 1 to 14). The registration will run from 7am to 4pm,” Philippine ambassador Alan L Timbayan said in an embassy circular issued yesterday and was posted on its Facebook page.
However, he stressed that “in view of the space limitation of the embassy and limited units of Comelec registration terminals, the embassy can only accommodate up to 300 registrants per day. Hence, the embassy accepts registrants on a first come, first served basis”.
The embassy also sent another request to relevant Qatari authorities for the conduct of OVR on October 1 and 8 (two Fridays) during the extension period.
The embassy added that it can only operate on weekends if allowed by relevant Qatari authorities: “In any case, as soon as the embassy obtains approval, it will release a separate announcement to confirm the registration on Fridays”.
According to the embassy, “those who were able to vote in Qatar in the last two elections in 2016 and/or 2019 need not register again”. Only those with a green code on their Ehteraz app will be allowed to enter the premises, adhering to Qatar’s health and safety protocols.
Many Filipino expatriates lauded the latest announcement from the embassy, which has been working hard to accommodate the large number of registrants (with all the Covid-19 protocols in place) prior to the previous deadline.
“It’s a welcome development, we have been given another opportunity to register and vote in the 2022 presidential elections. However, it’s still our fault if we failed to register because we have been given enough time to do it – even after the 2019 elections,” Filipino expatriate Joseph R said. It is learnt that in May this year, there were only few registrants come to the embassy to register, and in some days, none at all.
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