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The COMELEC in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Joint maritime group and AMOSUP recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the launching of the Overseas Absentee Voting Pre-Deployment Center at the AMOSUP Seamen’s Center.

The state’s obligation to its citizens to provide adequate means and mechanisms in order that they able to exercise a basic constitutional right is clear.  The union is very pleased that the government is working towards that direction in the best way it can and has partnered with the private sector to work for a common universal goal.

AMOSUP President, Dr. Conrado F. Oca, in his remarks said that “the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement is a historic, liberating and significant event that gives meaning and importance to the every citizen’s right of suffrage, especially our hardworking overseas land and sea-based workers, who have been unable to exercise their right because of the peculiarities of their jobs. “  He emphasized that AMOSUP is at the forefront of promoting welfare services to Filipino ocean-going mariners.  He said, “we stand for security of employment, acceptable and above-standard working terms and conditions, adequate social benefits, and social justice and equality – regardless of color, creed or gender.  This event supports and is consistent with what we stand for.”

Indeed, the undertaking is a welcome and laudable exercise that promises to provide overseas workers with the opportunity to participate in electing officials of their choice that will rule and govern the land.  Seafarers will feel more empowered citizens of our nation with this development and will certainly become enlightened participants in the process of nation building.

Overall, the industry stakeholders’ reactions were very positive.  Others expressed that they are hopeful that this is just the start of a series of electoral reforms that will address the needs of the millions of Overseas Filipino Workers who demand more participation in the country’s electoral process.