With internet voting, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking to have up to three million Filipinos abroad participate in the May 2025 midterm elections.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia reported that a total of 1,105,000 Filipinos abroad have already registered since the resumption of voter registration for overseas voting over a year ago.

'If this is approved in addition to existing registered overseas voters, then you have two million and hopefully in the remaining months to Sept. 30 it can reach three million,' Garcia said at a press conference yesterday.

Garcia reminded Filipinos abroad to register at the soonest possible time because the Comelec is not extending the Sept. 30 deadline.

In the 2022 elections, Garcia noted that only 600,000 Filipinos overseas, or less than 50 percent of registered overseas voters, cast their votes.

Despite Comelec's efforts, Garcia said only a few Filipinos abroad are opting to participate in the elections.

'Hopefully numbers grow in the ongoing registration,' the poll chief added.

Garcia said the commission 'deemed it necessary' to adopt internet voting to allow more overseas Filipinos to vote, wherever they may be.

However, Filipinos abroad cannot automatically use internet voting. Garcia said Filipinos abroad need to pre-register starting January until election day so they could use their gadgets for online voting.

He said there are eight countries, including China and Israel, where internet service is not allowed. In those eight countries, the Comelec will be deploying voting machines to allow Filipinos there to cast votes.

Yesterday, Comelec forged a memorandum of understanding with the Overseas Workers Welfare Organization (OWWA), the Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) and Rotary International for the mounting of an information campaign among overseas Filipinos.

Garcia said the OWWA, AMOSUP and Rotary International will be helping out the commission in mounting a massive information drive to educate overseas Filipinos on internet voting and encourage them to participate in next year's elections.

Meanwhile, Garcia confirmed reports that former Comelec spokesman James Jimenez has expressed his intention to return to the poll body.

Two weeks ago, Garcia said, Jimenez paid him a visit during which he informed him of his interest in serving the commission again.

Garcia said there is no formal submission of application and that at this time the Comelec is fully staffed.

Two years ago, Jimenez got embroiled in the presidential and vice-presidential debate fiasco. He opted for early retirement.

Garcia said the Comelec conducted an investigation and is soon coming out with the ruling on Jimenez's alleged involvement in the controversy.

He belied reports that Jimenez has been appointed back to the commission.

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