Election Day in the Philippines may not come until May 9, but overseas residents have been voting in the Philippine embassy in Amman since April 10.

Every day, observers can watch small groups of Filipino voters, mostly Filipina women, who make up over 90 per cent of Filipino migrant workers in Jordan and are employed mostly as in-home domestic workers, walking down by the embassy before or after voting.

Often, these voters are dressed in the colour of their candidate of choice, with most either donning green and red to show their support for Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of former Filipino president, Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., running on the Federal Party of the Philippines (PFP) ticket, or pink and yellow for supporters of the Vice President Leni Robredo, who is an independent candidate generally aligned with the Liberal Party.

Though only about 6,000 of the 40,000-odd Filipino population in Jordan is registered to vote, voter engagement in the upcoming elections has been high, according to Father Gerard.

“This year, we are electing a president,” said Father Gerard Joaquin Masangya, a native of Manila who is currently the priest of the Philippine Catholic Chaplaincy of Jordan.

A regular voter in the Philippines, he has lived in Jordan for nine months, and is already very involved in the community.

He can personally attest to the passions of voters in this election, telling The Jordan Times that “I was bashed on Facebook for my support of my candidate”.

He is proud to say that he was among the first overseas residents in Jordan to vote in the election, voting on the first day the Embassy started conducting elections.

The domestic economy and transparency were cited as the biggest issues in the current elections by other voters as well.

“We need an economist,” said Lucy Obedas, a Filipino migrant worker and community leader, who has lived in Jordan for 17 years. “A leader who is educated enough for the economy of our country. It is a difficult task,” she noted.

“We are voting for the future of the country,” she added. “I am after the quality of candidates. I am not in one particular party. I am choosing those who are qualified candidates, especially for president. Six years is very short for a good president and very long for a bad one,” Obedas said.

Minda Obeidat, a dual Filipino and Jordanian citizen and Filipino community advocate, who has lived in Jordan for two years, hopes that if the domestic economy improves, there will be less need for Filipinos to work abroad.

Over 4 million Filipinos work as temporary workers abroad, with over 50 per cent of them living and working in the Middle East alone, according to official estimates.

“I hope that one day, working abroad will be an option, and not a necessity,” she said.

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