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Expat Health Insurance News: Millions of Filipino expatriates 'discouraged from voting overseas'

Millions of Filipino expatriates living abroad are being disenfranchised because the current law discourages voters from registering, a legal expert has claimed.

Ramon Casiple, a political analyst in Manila, told The National that the Philippines’ overseas absentee voting law needs to be amended because it currently requires voters to promise to return permanently to their home country within three years.

"The potential of overseas Filipino workers in participating in Philippine elections is vast," Mr Casiple told the paper.

"They can provide funds, other perspectives, and votes, if you include their families."

According to the newspaper, only 589,830 Filipino expatriates registered to vote last year out of a possible eight million, figures released by the Philippines’ Commission on Elections showed.

An emigrant who wishes to vote must present an affidavit to say he or she will resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines within three years of the approval of their voter registration.

Expatriates must also go to an embassy or consulate to register and vote, which Mr Casiple said can prove impractical in certain countries because of the distance and travel involved.

Voting in the Philippines election finishes today (May 10th).

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