AKYAT BARKO - OAV in Lisbon Portugal hits 6,171 Filipino Seafarers

Philippine Embassy in Lisbon sets record 6,000 Filipino seafarers registered as OAV period ends

The Philippine Embassy in Lisbon reported that it successfully concluded its registration activities for the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) for the 2013 national elections with a record number of almost 6,000 Filipino seafarers who filed their applications during the Embassy´s six-month long Akyat-Barko campaign.

Inspired by the success during its first ship mobile registration in May this year onboard the cruise ship MS Crystal Symphony and the warm response of the Filipino crew, the Embassy´s OAV team embarked on a series of visits to various ships which called on the ports of Lisbon and Porto in Northern Portugal.

Overcoming the challenges posed by the shortage in manpower, resources, and some technical issues, the Embassy was able to visit 57 ships which had their brief stopovers in  Lisbon and Porto. Among the ships visited by the OAV team belong to Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd, Saga, Holland America Lines, Silver Cruises, MSC Cruises, Fred Olsen, Crystal, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and other shipping companies.

Overall, the Philippine Embassy in Lisbon was able to receive and process 6,171 applications for registration, certification and transfer of records for the OAV including those from land-based overseas Filipinos. Philippine Ambassador to Portugal, Philippe J. Lhuillier who assumed his post in Lisbon only in October 8 was the last registrant until the closing hours of the embassy on October 31, the last day of registration.

With the opening of the Philippine Embassy in Lisbon in 2010, Filipinos living in Portugal no longer have to travel to Paris to avail of consular services and to register for the overseas absentee voting. Filipino seafarers, many of whom have not voted for more than 10 years because of their frequent absence from the Philippines during election time, are grateful to the Embassy for bringing the OAV registration closer to them.  

Ambassador Lhuillier praised the OAV team headed by Third Secretary and Vice Consul Rogelio Villanueva Jr. for their exemplary performance and dedication to duty whose members had to sacrifice their weekends and holidays for the OAV including the almost impossible task of boarding of three big cruise ships in a single day. The Ambassador recalled that in the Queen Mary 2 alone, the Embassy was able to register 365 Filipino seafarers.

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