FILIPINO workers in Singapore and Hong Kong, who are registered voters, will be part of the automated polls, as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) pushed through with its plans to automate the overseas absentee voting (OAV).

Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco said they decided to automate the process of elections in the two countries after they were given assurance by Smartmatic-TIM.

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“With their assurance na kaya ang preparations to conduct automation, we have decided to still pursue the automation in Hong Kong and Singapore,” said the chairman of the Committee on OAV.

The OAV for all Filipinos working abroad will start on April 10, one month advance of the scheduled polls in the country.

With this, Velasco said they will be rushing the preparations for the OAV, which include the training of the special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEIS) and to teach the voters on the automation process of the elections.

“We will coordinate with them for the orientation about the PCOS machines and schedule the training and voters’ education,” Velasco said.

The Comelec official is set to visit Singapore and Hong Kong starting on February 28.

A total of 30 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines are set to be deployed with 19 will be designated in Hong Kong, seven to Singapore, and another four as back up.

There are 95,000 registered voters in Hong Kong while 31,000 are in Singapore.

The Comelec noted that other registered Filipinos in other countries will be participating in the forthcoming polls either by mail and personal voting.

The overseas Filipino workers will be voting for the position of president, vice-president, senators, and party-list group.

Velasco said they are looking for a 50 percent turnout in OAV. The total number of Filipino voters abroad is 589,830. (FP/Sunnex)