Migrante Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona

MANILA, Philippines-Sectoral partylist group Migrante has urged all senatorial candidates to hold campaign sorties abroad to woo overseas absentee voters, give them a chance to see up close and personal, and know their issues and concerns first hand.

“ Let overseas Filipino workers hear your platform of governance and stand on specific issues that directly and indirectly affect the OFWs and the Filipinos in general…Be it known that we will exercise our right to vote and will actively participate in the May 2013 elections,” said John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator in Middle East.

As election campaign officially started, Monterona said they are confident the two contending major parties, PNoy Team and UNA, as well as independent candidates and party-list groups, will not take overseas absentee voters for granted as there is such “OFWs vote”.

“Well, 700,000 absentee voters is a huge vote that could swing Senatorial positions between 6th to 12 placers. Even a single vote could make a difference, so how much more the 700,000+ absentee voters abroad.”

“’OFWs Vote’ is a solid vote like that of ‘Solid North’ from the Ilocandia or Ilocanos and the so called INC vote (or Iglesia ni Cristo), who are believed to have a command collective vote,” said Monterona in a statement to Manila Channel.

The OFW leader added that as “bread winners”, OFWs have a certain degree of economic power to influence over their dependents and kin to vote for their senatorial candidates.

“ We will certainly exercise that influence to get our candidates win a seat.”

Monterona also disclosed that several OFW groups and their dependents are keen in supporting the electoral campaign for Migrante on May 13, 2013.

However he continued seeking support from other Filipino communities and OFW groups to endorse and vote their party at the start of the overseas absentee voting in April 13.

As of their chosen senator to date, Monterona disclosed that Bayan-Muna Rep. Teddy Casino is on top of their lists for senator.

“We will endorse other senatorial candidates who will take a stand for OFWs rights and welfare and who are willing to fight side-by-side with us on issues that directly and indirectly affect our sector and the Filipinos in general.”