Senator Francis Tolentino on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to devise a plan allowing Filipino seafarers to exercise their right to suffrage.

Tolentino asks Comelec to ensure seafarers can vote in 2022 elections

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Senator Francis Tolentino on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to devise a plan allowing Filipino seafarers to exercise their right to suffrage.

During the hearing of the Senate committee on electoral reforms, Tolentino asked Comelec officials to look into the plight of Filipino seafarers who have been deprived of their right to vote because they are at sea most of the time.

While the current process allows seafarers to vote by going to the nearest embassy or consular post during the 30-day voting period, the senator noted that most seafarers are at sea for six months, which is the usual duration of their contracts.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez agreed with Tolentino’s sentiment, adding that the poll body is studying other ways to provide seafarers various avenues to cast their votes.

He said the Comelec has not yet made use of online voting technology to allow seafarers to vote while at sea.

Tolentino suggested that the Comelec deputize Filipino captains of Philippine-flagged vessels, which are considered part of the country’s territory under the law, to oversee the casting of ballots by Filipino seafarers under their authority while at sea.

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Duterte says gov’t going ‘full-throttle’ on vaccine drive to ensure student safety

By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday vowed that the government will go “full- throttle” in its mass coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination program to ensure safe return to schools.

Duterte made the statement during the simultaneous inauguration of school buildings at the Gen. Gregorio H. Del Pilar Integrated School and Virginia Ramirez-Cruz High School in Bulakan, Bulacan.

“I assure you that the government is exerting all efforts to go full-throttle in this Covid-19 vaccination program to ensure the safety of students before the resumption of the face-to face-learning,” the Chief Executive said.

In his speech, Duterte also underscored the need for timely completion of government structures and projects and directed all concerned agencies to ensure the least inconvenience to the public during construction and maintain the highest ethical standards.

“Our investment in education infrastructure affirms our continuing commitment to promote the right of the people to quality and accessible education at all levels,” according to him.

“A good education is a valuable gift we can proudly pass on to succeeding generations of Filipinos. Let us join hands in developing the full potential of your youth as bearers of our nation’s sustainable future,” he concluded.

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