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Overseas Filipinos, Issue #005 – Philippine Elections and More!
June 09, 2016

Philippine Elections and Sending Money to the Philippines

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Overseas Filipinos

Issue #005, 10 June 2016

Philippine Elections

A record number of OFWs voted in the May 9, 2016 elections through the Overseas Absentee Voting. The turnout was 31.45% for the one-month voting period on April 9 to May 9, 2016. This means that 432,706 Overseas Filipinos voted out of the 1,376,067 listed as Overseas Absentee Voters.

But this is far lower than the 64.89% voter turnout in 2004 when the OAV was held for the first time. Still, these figures are a tiny fraction of the more than 10 Million Overseas Filipinos as potential voters. We need to make the absentee voting law work for the next elections.

The new pages below show the Presidential bets’ programs on OFWs.

1) Mayor Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte. Mayor Duterte won the elections with a margin of close to 7 million votes over the next rival, Mar Roxas. Duterte’s plans include a single department for OFWs, an OFW bank for sending money to the Philippines and tracking OFWs and helping them at the first sign of abuse.

2) Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. The feisty Senator filed bills to uplift the plight of OFWs. Her plans would include making migration an option by creating more jobs locally. Giving legal assistance would be key to protect OFWs. OWWA and the labor department would provide hotlines.

3) Senator Grace Poe. Senator Grace Poe claimed to be a former OFW who lived and worked in the US. She would give PhilHealth cards to help in health bills of OFWs. She would require a 24-hour hotline in all foreign posts. And she would also make leaving the country an option, not a need.

4) Mar Roxas. Mar Roxas would create a strong economy and make the Philippines a First World Society. He would use his know-how as a former Senator and former head of two departments - the trade and industry and the interior and local government.

In the meantime, Leni Robredo won the Vice-Presidency by a slim margin. She was not the top choice of the OFW absentee voters. But the overseas absentee ballots surely helped her won the election. This page shows Leni Robredo's plans for OFWs.

Susan "Toots" Ople, the daughter of Blas Ople, ran in the Senate. Blas Ople championed the cause of labor and workers. Susan continues the cause by fighting for the rights of OFWs. She has traveled to your places of work to discuss your issues and concerns. Unfortunately, she lost. Read her causes here.

Sending Money to the Philippines

OFWs in the United States can now use Ria Money Transfer online to send money to the Philippines. I first heard about this service from OFWs in Geneva. With this online service, you can send money with $0 fees for the first 30 days. It is cheap, fast and safe. Read my review of Ria Money Transfer on this page and check whether it suits your money transfer needs.

Compare Ria with TransferWise. TransferWise sends money using the real exchange rate. You avoid being double charged of transfer fees and unfair exchange rate used by the banks and other money transfer agents or services. I tried TransferWise and found that it is cheaper to send money to the Philippines.

OFWs in the US, Western Europe and Australia can take advantage of this service.

Overseas-Filipinos.Com and Me

Read the story of this web site here. It is also my story.

That’s it for now.

The next issue will start a series of pages about government agencies whose functions are related to OFWs. We will get to know more about OWWA next issue.

See you next month,

Dom Tuvera

P.S. Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine or use this form and tell me what you think!

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