By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Sept. 17, 2014
NATIONAL CITY, Calif. – The right to own real estate in the Philippines and the right to vote in Philippine elections – these are just some of the benefits these kababayans received after regaining their Philippine citizenship.
Fil-Ams from San Diego were able to avoid a two hour trip to the Los Angeles Philippine consulate because of a consular outreach at the council of Filipino-American organizations.
“I thank COPAO and the Consulate of the Philippines for coming here to help,” said Melita Ebannar Miranda of National City, “Especially us who are already old and it’s hard for us to go to Los Angeles.”
With more Filipinos availing of consular services, the outreach was a chance for San Diego’s newly appointed honorary consul general Audi de Castro to know the needs of the community.
“It allows a lot of the Filipino to obtain consul services less expensively without having to drive all the way to Los Angeles,” said de Castro.
With the 2016 presidential elections coming and voter registration ongoing, more Filipinos are signing up to vote either in person at the consulate or at outreach events like this.
“We have record breaking registration right now,” said Los Angeles Philippine Consulate member Rainier Casis. “We intend to make that more record breaking as the months pass. Meron interest, meron talagang interest – that’s why we’re urging everyone out there to go out and vote, register through either in Los Angeles or out consular outreach program.”
For the first time since the Philippine Overseas Absentee Voting law was passed 11 years ago, overseas absentee voting registration reached one million. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs is confident it will reach its goal of registering one million new overseas voters for the May 2016 presidential elections.
New Filipino citizens and dual citizens say they’re excited to vote for their homeland’s next president.
“Gusto ko bomoto,” said Danillo Pareja. “Gusto ko bomoto kasi in the past, hindi pa ko subukan bomoto sa Pilipinas.”
“This is important also to have this voting in the Philippines,” said Cristina Arellano of San Diego.
The Los Angeles consulate oversees the Southwestern region of the U.S. and has also made stops in Las Vegas and Texas this year.
Let us all register so we can help in crafting better Philippine government for tomorrow….