Filipinos in Hawaii exercise right to vote in Philippine presidential election
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Philippines’ Presidential election is on May 9, but registered voters in Hawaii can submit their ballots now.
The current frontrunner, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., known by his nickname Bongbong. He’s the son of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.
The Marcos family fled to Honolulu in 1986 and lived in exile in the United States for nearly six years.
Many Filipino voters are originally from the same region as the Marcos family and are expressing their loyalty on the ballot.
“I voted for Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte,” said Kapolei resident Fidel Eviota, who has lived in Hawaii for 35 years but never stopped caring about what happens in his native Philippines.
He’s excited about an administration with current President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter Sara as vice president.
“They will continue what President Duterte started because it was very good,” he said. “It’s not the cure all policy. But it’s an ongoing progressive process of government.”
But not everyone agrees.
“Hawaii is not solidly for Marcos even if we are in the minority, we are here and we are going to stand up and voice our beliefs,” said Gary Labao, who’s a member of 1Sambayan, an alliance of supporters of leading opposition candidate and current vice president Leni Robredo.
Labao and other critics say they oppose a family they believe committed human rights violations and stole billions of dollars from the country during Ferdinand Senior’s rule.
They’re holding out hope voters will choose other candidates.
“I don’t think the votes that we can deliver in the US is going to make a major dent or or a deciding factor. But it’s still a contribution,” Labao said.
“It’s still important to show that that we are concerned about the future of the Philippines and it is part of our rights.”
Regardless of the candidate, the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu says engaging overseas Filipinos is an important part of preserving democracy.
There is no in-person voting. Eligible voters had to register by last fall.
More than 8,500 Filipinos in Hawaii signed up and were mailed their ballots.
“Little by little, they’re trickling in. But we encourage people not to wait until the last minute. Make sure that once they are received to accomplish them and send them right away,” said Philippine Consul General Emil Fernandez.
ConGen Fernandez advises registered voters to contact the consulate if they have not received their ballot.
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