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97,000 global Filipinos sign up for 2013 polls

Nearly 97,000 Filipinos across the world have registered in the past six months to vote in next year's elections, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

In a report posted on its website, the DFA on Monday said the Philippines' more than 90 embassies and consulates abroad accounted for 62,312 new overseas absentee voters (OAVs).

Philippine nationals based in Los Angeles, California, topped the list of registrants with 5,677, followed by those in Kuwait, 4,106; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 3,669; Milan, Italy, 3,436; Tel Aviv, Israel, 3,296; San Francisco, California, 3,257; Singapore, 2,906; Hong Kong, 2,861; Rome, Italy, 2,718, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2,379.

Rounding out the top 20 places were London, United Kingdom, 2,355; Vancouver, Canada, 1,965; Toronto, Canada, 1,824; Manama, Bahrain, 1,630; New York City, 1,328; Washington, D.C., 1,290; Macau, 1,215; Chicago, Illinois, 1,150; Honolulu, Hawaii, 1,142, and Beirut, Lebanon, 1,140.

By region, the Americas topped the list with 19,807 new OAVs, followed by the Middle East and Africa, 18,824; Europe, 12,868, and Asia Pacific, 10,813.

Registration centers at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminals 1 and 2 accounted for 13,448 and 5,077 OAVs, respectively, while the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas registered 9,312 and 6,819 voters, respectively.

All told the new registrants totaled 96,968.

The 12-month OAV registration, which began on Oct. 31 last year runs until Oct. 31 this year. The elections will be held on May 13, 2013, although absentee voters are given a longer period to vote.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has directed the foreign outposts to intensify the OAV registration.

Raul Hernandez, the DFA spokesperson, earlier said Philippine diplomatic posts abroad "continue to exert all possible efforts to increase the number of OAV registrants and voters for the 2013 national elections."

Source: Jerry E. Esplanada, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 22

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