Philippine Ambassador Crescente R Relacion with embassy staff at the new embassy building in Jelaiah. (Kammutty VP)
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: Philippine Ambassador Crescente R Relacion has urged Filipino expatriates to exercise their right to suffrage at the upcoming Philippine elections for which an Overseas Absentee Voting would be held here.
“I am urging Filipinos here to participate in the Overseas Absentee Voting to take place from April 13 to May 13. This is a very important event in the political history of the Philippines,” Ambassador Relacion told the local media on Monday.
The ambassador rued the low turnout for registration which is less than 10 percent of the Overseas Filipino Workers in Qatar despite the fact that it was conducted for a year.
There are over 14,000 registered voters out of more than 200,000 Filipinos here. The embassy has conducted field registrations in several areas where there is a large concentration of Filipinos.
He called for the need to raise awareness among Filipinos on the significant role they play in nation building despite being far from their country.
“If they don’t do their patriotic duty it is condemning the Filipino nation to oblivion,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of the commemoration of the Edsa People Power Revolution.
Twenty-seven years after Filipinos toppled the Marcos dictatorship, the People Power Revolution remains very relevant as a model for bloodless means of changing a regime, said Relacion.
“Edsa Revolution is a peaceful transition to power and the Philippines was a role model to the world on how to effect regime change through bloodless revolution. This has been replicated over and over again.”
After the Edsa Revolution regime changes through peaceful means have occurred, he noted.
“We saw the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, we also witnessed the change of regime from communism to relatively democratic form of government in Russia through Perestroika and also the Suharto regime was toppled through peaceful student demonstrations. And very recently we had the Arab Spring so I don’t think Edsa Revolution is irrelevant today because we have seen the legacy that Filipinos have given to people around the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the promotion of welfare of Filipinos here, Relacion said representatives from the Department of Labour and Employment and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration are coming to Qatar soon to discuss labour issues with their counterparts.
The joint commission meeting on labour issues would address concerns from both sides on the deployment of Filipino workers, including the issue on Filipino domestic helpers, he said.