UAE Filipinos lay down plan for progressive Philippines

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There are 306,779 registered overseas absentee voting Filipinos in the UAE that shall be casting their votes for the Presidential/National Elections from April 10 to May 9, 2022. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Given the right to suffrage through the Overseas Absentee Voting Law of 2002, qualified overseas Filipinos must take advantage of this constitutional right and privilege that will help shape the progress and future of their homeland.

This is the opinion of Filipino Social Club adviser/Legal representative Alan Bacason, Human Resources & Recruitment manager Gina Salazar, Dubai resident Dainty Rodriguez-San Jose, and Frico International LLC Marketing manager Roy King Silvano. They have ranked food security, education, war against corruption, and protection of the environment as their priority agenda, should they be presidential candidates themselves.

They were asked the hypothetical question as the 30-day Philippine Presidential/National Elections-Overseas Absentee Voting, involving 1,697,215 registered overseas Filipinos, commences in four days or on April 10 (Sunday) in all the over 70 Philippine diplomatic and consular posts across the globe.

Meanwhile, through a Facebook post, the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai which has 10 polling precincts manned by the Special Board of Election Inspectors, shall be open for 13 hours (8 a.m. to 9 p.m.) from April 10 to May 8 (Sunday) to accommodate the 191,779 registered land-based and sea-based voters in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah. Voting on May 9 (Monday) shall end at 3 pm in synchrony with the 7pm schedule in the Philippines.

In an answer to the Gulf Today enquiry regarding presidential platforms or agenda for a progressive Philippines, Rodriquez-San Jose quipped it would be “back to the basic needs of every human being (whereby) prioritised are food, shelter, and education for all. Provision of food can be done in so many ways but one thing that may have been forgotten is that the Philippines is still an agricultural-based economy. Budget should be allocated for (research and development) on how the (country) can once again be an exporter of rice (and) sugar (among others). In order to resuscitate and support our agricultural sector, strict governance and policies must be thoroughly implemented to safeguard our farmers and sugar growers from invasive international exporters competing with our own. Low cost but sustainable housing uplifts the decency of living for any human being. Free if not subsidised quality education should be available to all (for) educated minds inculcated with high moral values will propel our society towards advancement and growth.”

Silvano, who has been away from the Philippines for over 15 years through job opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, said the educational sector must be provided with all the support it needs to discover and harness the talents and skills of every Filipino citizen so that wherever they would be, “they are able to work well. It is difficult to take risks, having seen many overseas Filipinos in unfortunate situations, and so education is important.”

Silvano, Bacason and Salazar are for sustainable farming systems and the protection of the environment which means the plight of the “hardworking farmers,” entrepreneurs, and miners ought to be seriously dealt with through astute responsible funding practices.” All local government units with the national government must adopt and should implement global standards on the “prevention of pollution and environmental destruction.”

For Bacason, “Corruption is the source of all evil. It causes poverty and other forms of criminality and economic downfall. Government institutions should be reviewed and revamped to eliminate functional duplications (with) business processes streamlined, monitored and regularly reported. Career-based appointments are given more emphasis over political appointees. Strictest monitoring of government officials’ lifestyles, military and police discipline, and broadened promotion of the country’s economic security and successes to entice investors reduce brain drain. Eliminating bureaucratic corruption can significantly improve the country’s political situation. It will gain economic confidence among Filipinos and foreign creditors.”

Salazar believes transparency as well as the bold and brave presentation of funds misuse kills corruption.

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