March 2006 was when I first officially tried to make a mark of chronicling my thoughts online. This was when Friendster used to be a bustling online hang out of friends. Lynette was the one who introduced me to blogging after, if I remember it right, she distributed her poetry booklet(?) through email (yes she spammed me! LOL! Love you Lynette ;)).
Last Saturday, the electoral district of Willagee had a by-election after its MP, who was the former State Premier, resigned. The campaign and voting went well despite seemingly unnoticed. The campaign mainly consisted of print ads in community papers and distribution of leaflets in letter boxes of residents. If there was some exchanges between the candidates in media outlets, the topics will mainly be on policy concerns and what they can offer. Voting is also compulsory here in Australia, anyone who fails to vote risk paying a fine. I think the fine is to cover the cost of the materials and preparations allocated for each voter. Voting started from 8:00am to 6:00pm by 7:00pm votes have been counted halfway and before 9:00pm the winner was already known.
Magpatuloy sa pagbasa
The number of overseas absentee voting (OAV) registrants was unofficially released recently. As expected, there was a low turnout for the OAV registrations. The Department of Foreign Affairs said that overall it fell short of its goal to have 1 million registrants by the end of OAV registrations last 31 August. Reports from GMAnews.tv said that there are over 216,000 OAV registrants worldwide.
Magpatuloy sa pagbasa
I was about to update some of you about the OAV initiative here in Perth when Noelle inquired on how we were doing here. Well here it goes.
At this stage, I was able to coordinate with the consul general here in Perth. While they were helpful in some way, I’m not sure if the OAV registration is something of a priority based on what the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has been stating. I think it is common for our embassies anywhere to claim that there has been an intensive campaign to reach more Filipinos to register for the OAV when there’s hardly any campaign at all, save for a few maybe (or is it just a PR stunt?).
As Noelle complained, even the consul general in Melbourne is at lost as to how the OAV will be set up. Well, I hope that by the time we’ll be able to reach our 200 mark target here in Perth, the Philippine Embassy in Canberra will know what to do. And we will be able to participate and will not be a mere spectator to the history-making election next year.
Despite the expected automation of the election system next year, there are some Pinoys here that have begged not to register out of frustration in the electoral system some of them expressing doubt whether the vote they will cast here will definitely be counted for their candidate.
The future might still be uncertain despite the possible improvement in the electoral system in the Philippines, but for some of us away from home, we could not just sit down and watch our countrymen just slug it out themselves, we want in and yes while there might just be a few that will be voting away from home. We will be part of election history next year, we will be counted.
UPDATE: GMAnews.tv has a good primer re the OAV registrations. It’s interesting to note that the PDF file containing the comprehensive research re the OAV was from an ABS-CBNnews.com researcher. 🙂 There are calls to extend the 31 August deadline of OAV registration to a later date–let’s hope that this call will be granted. GMAnews.tv is calling for Pinoys abroad/expats to air their stories re OAV registrations. So, I think this is a good opportunity for us to tell our side of the story and let them know that much of the hyped public awareness on the OAV is dud. Email your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and I apologise if it hasn’t lived up to its name lately), you know that I’m personally involved in advocating Filipinos here in Perth and surrounding areas to register as an overseas absentee voter. The campaign is a personal one and I do not have direct funding from anybody, so I am using online and offline social networks to disseminate the information (and to some point personal resources such as petrol, paper, inks, phone credits, etc.).
As a communications specialist, I know the importance of “gatekeepers.” Gatekeepers in communications or marketing are important links to your target audiences or clients. I knew their opinion will matter especially in this very important initiative. Some of my identified gatekeepers here include Asian shopkeepers, association leaders, peer group leaders and religious leaders.
I have tried to distribute a paper for Filipinos to sign to express their interest to register for the OAV and recently, I have asked a friend for help in this campaign. I have specifically asked him to show it to their church members. Their religious group is one of the biggest in the Filipino community here and their assistance would be a great boost to this campaign.
However, to my surprise their head minister turned down the request that the paper be passed on within the church. According to my friend, the minister said that there is an “unofficial” directive from Manila that their expat members (or those based outside Manila) do not participate in the coming election as the Philippine election is “chaotic.” My friend was very apologetic that he wasn’t able to help but I said that I do understand and respect their minister’s decision, who, by the way, is already an Australian citizen. I will be vague at this point as I might inadvertently give details that might identify the group.
For now, off to the next target audience and hopefully I’ll be able to reach my goal by end of July.
There seems to be a contagious feeling of doubt both here in Australia in the Philippines. While the cases here in Australia might be ‘bigger’ compared to the issues in the Philippines, cases in both countries elicited doubts from many parties.
- Another boat load of refugees tried to enter the country only to meet an accident as their boat was being towed towards a detention facility. The boat exploded killing three people on board. A total of five people are now dead as a result of that accident. The rest of about 49 people on board were either treated for minor injuries or still in intensive care. There were doubts on the government’s sincerity in giving information on what really happened during the accident. At the same time, there were doubts among refugee groups in Australia that the latest incident might have negative repercussions to asylum applications. Reports said that some refugee groups accused the latest asylum seekers as ‘jumping the queue’ to get into Australia. The government is still consulting with its legal team on where the asylum seekers will be confined after they recover from their injuries, i.e., whether they will be an off-shore or on-shore refugees.
- After declaring that Australia is better off, doubters finally realised that it is just a matter of when for Australia. And that time has come. Australia is in recession.
- As the drama unfolds, doubts surfaced on the how one of the country’s top broadcast journalist’s wife died. Lawmakers finally realised (what was long public knowledge) that the police force needed to be professionalized, if not more training is needed.
- There are doubts that the automation of election in the country will result in cheat-free elections. There are acknowledgments that it might not be fool proof but election officials seem to be taking it one step at a time or are they just leaving it just like that so there will still be a window of opportunity to change the course of history?
These are just a few of the issues in the past few weeks in both countries. A lot has been happening that I’ve lost track of most of the important ones. On a personal level, it’s been a trying time for me as I try to write formalize a chapter in my thesis. Wish me luck. 🙂