Platform of Filipino Migrant Organizations in Europe


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Platform Communiqué – 6 May 2002



Countdown for Absentee Voting Bill to June 6, 2002!



t is countdown time for the Absentee Voting Bill! Congress resumed session on April 15 and will adjourn on June 6. This gives almost a month time for our campaign in urging the 12th Congress to enact the Absentee Voting Bill NOW, in time for implementation in 2004 national election.


We are encouraged by the positive responses of people who are putting their voices behind our PANAHON NA for AVB as a follow up to Platform – Europe Voting Rights Campaign.


We have heard that  “Urgent Appeal Letter” to Congress have been sent from “our migrant families and relatives” from the provinces in the Philippines.


Likewise, some NGO’s have faxed” Urgent Appeal” letter to both chambers of Congress demanding the immediate passage of the AVB Now!


In Imus, Cavite, Fr. Avel Sapida has begun an information drive among his parish constituency urging Congress to legislate AVB now and have integrated this urgent appeal in the Prayer of the Faithful during their liturgical gatherings.


Bishop Palma of Samar has started the Panahon Na Campaign together with the priests in the Diocese. The AVB being part of the Diocesan priority concerns, Bishop Palma further said that “we will continue praying to God until the 12th Congress listens and make it into a law!”


These efforts are on going and will pick up in other places. All these initiatives and many other ACTION Now efforts in the Philippines and other global areas are giving a strong message to our Legislators that they should immediately enact the Absentee Voting Bill Now!


However, Congress so far has not convened a quorum. We are very concerned despite the fact that on April 11, 2002, House Speaker Jose de Venecia, while in the US before Fil-Am leaders and members of the media made a commitment saying “I will resign as a Speaker of the House if the two bills (Absentee Voting & Dual Citizenship) won’t pass within 60 days”.


Likewise, last May 2 in Philippine TV news Senator Angara, Chair of the Committee on Electoral Reforms expressed commitment that the Opposition will continue to pursue urgent legislative issues in congress and one of these is the immediate passage of the Absentee Voting Bill. Senator Angara expressed similar commitment during the bicameral consultation in Rome on March 21, 2002.


Let us remind our legislators that it is countdown time before congress adjourns on June 6, 2002.


Panahon Na for Absentee Voting! Enact the Absentee Voting Bill NOW, in time for implementation in 2004 national elections!


Suffrage for all! Suffrage for Overseas Filipinos!