By Samuel P. Medenilla, May 27 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Philippine Star

THE number of Filipinos abroad who participated in the recently concluded May 13 polls more than doubled compared to the last midterm elections.

This after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said 18.34 percent of the 1,822,173 registered Filipino voters abroad participated in the May 13 polls.

Comelec-Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) Director Elaiza David said this is equivalent to 334,242 voters.

She said this was significantly higher compared to the voter turnout rate–the ratio between those who voted and the number of registered voters–in the last  Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) for the midterm elections in 2013.

“It surpassed the 15.63 percent turnout in the 2013 midterm elections with 115,318 who actually voted,” David said.

The VTR in the 2007 midterm elections was also about 16 percent.

Despite the improvement, David said the VTR for the 2019 OAV midterm elections still fell short of their expectations.

Comelec said it is targeting a 25-percent VTR for the electoral activity held abroad.

Last week it reported an increase in the overall VTR in the local midterm elections after it breached its 75-percent target. VTRs for local midterm polls usually only range between 60 to 70 percent.

Comelec attributed the higher VTR to the increasing number of Filipinos who have become conscious of the importance of elections, among other reasons.