[Petition] A Call to Restore the Budget Needed in 2015 for the Proper Implementation of Overseas Voting in the 2016 Elections Petisyon -change.org

Pinepetisyon si Budget Sec. Florencio Abad
A Call to Restore the Budget Needed in 2015 for the Proper Implementation of Overseas Voting in the 2016 Elections
Petition by Overseas Filipinos

Overseas Filipinos, many of them working under harsh conditions, are called mga Bagong Bayani (New Heroes) by the Philippine government. They not only support entire clans. They also prop up the national economy, sending more than $25 billion in remittances in 2013 and nearly $13 billion in the first half of 2014.

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While the Philippine 1987 Constitution enshrined Overseas Filipinos’ right to vote, it took us 16 years to get Congress to pass the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003. Since then, a million of us have registered to vote.

Some 10.5 million Filipinos are overseas. The monumental project for massive political enfranchisement has just started. Now, this noble cause is in peril with the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) decision to slash P89.6 million required to properly implement the Overseas Voting Act from the 2015 national budget.

The decision jeopardizes our opportunity to vote in the 2016 presidential election. How callous can a government get to not want to spend P89.6 million pesos (a measly fraction of the proposed P2.6 trillion national budget) to fund the proper implementation of overseas voting? We are appealing to you, our relatives and friends, to help us push Congress and the Executive Department to return the P89.6 million overseas voting budget. You can do so by signing this petition and sharing it with relatives and friends.

We overseas Filipinos are familiar with government condescension. While Bagong Bayani is routinely inserted in political speeches and bannered at the airport, state negligence often renders this meaningless. We risk life and limb to find work in every conceivable corner of the globe. In many cases, far from the protective reach of underfunded consulates, we’re left to face alone the ugly consequences of our bold decision. Employer abuse and exploitation is common knowledge; sometimes, abuse and exploitation is perpetrated by our own bureaucrats. The unlucky ones return home in body bags, others return with the ugly scars of cruelty, and some with debilitating ailments—many are thrown back into the same vicious cycle of poverty they tried to escape.

If the government is incapable of appreciating our personal sacrifices as a context for its budgetary priorities, perhaps it should be reminded of our economic contributions. We contribute $144 billion or P6.336 trillion every presidential election cycle, way more if we factor in projected remittance growth and revenues sent outside of monitored bank channels.

We strongly demand that the DBM restore the P89.6-million budget needed in 2015 for the proper implementation of overseas voting. This is our basic right. This is the least the government owes us. Please help our cause by signing this petition.

Sign petition @www.change.org

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