MANILA, (Mabuhay) – Overseas voting for more than 13,000 Filipinos working in South Korea will proceed as scheduled despite escalating tension in the Korean peninsula, the Philippines’ election body said on Monday.
However, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has no advice yet regarding its contingency plan in case a war breaks out between the North and South Korea, Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez said.
“So far, wala pang ganoong advice sa amin, so tuloy lang tayo, magkakaroon ng halalan hanggang hindi nagbabago ang klima doon, we will continue as though everything is okay, and keep coming to carry on that,” Jimenez said.
(So far, we will proceed with overseas voting for 13,934 Filipino workers in South Korea as long as the climate stays the same.)
In case the scenario in the Peninsula worsens, he poll body will only follow what the foreign affairs department tells them to do, Jimenez added.
“Since the (elections) is only an additional duty imposed on DFA personnel, and if the DFA personnel are told to get out of there, wala na tayong magagawa,” he said.
Asked what the Comelec intend to do if the tension get worse, Jimenez said that “overseas voters will be diverted in an specified country where they can exercise their rights to suffrage.”
“Then we will have to talk about where to divert our voters there. But until that certain things actually happen, overseas elections are a week away, they will actually start on Saturday, tuloy-tuloy na iyon muna,” he said.
Even if a war breaks out in Seoul, Filipinos will still cast their ballots, just like in Mindanao, where voters go to their polling places despite mortar shelling.
“Hindi ko alam ang atmosphere sa South Korea right now, but I guess Filipinos will vote. Dito nga sa Pilipinas, nagpuputukan ang mga mortal, bomoboto ang mga tao eh. We are very hardy lot, and we are very brave, and even more so for OFWs,” he said.
“If is just tension in the air, or if it is just a fear that something might happen, I think they will also vote anyway,” he added. (MNS)