A November 5, 2012, press release from the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Philippine Embassy in Lisbon reported that it successfully concluded its registration activities for the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) for the 2013 national elections, with a record number of around 6,000 Filipino seafarers who filed their applications during the Embassy´s six-month long Akyat-Barko campaign.
Inspired by the success of its first ship mobile registration onboard the cruise ship MS Crystal Symphony in May and the warm response of the Filipino crew, the Embassy´s OAV team embarked on a series of visits to various ships which called on the ports of Lisbon and Porto in Northern Portugal.
Overcoming the challenges posed by the shortage in manpower, resources, and some technical issues, the Embassy was able to visit 57 ships, which had their brief stopovers in Lisbon and Porto. Among the ships visited by the OAV team belong to Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd, Saga, Holland America Lines, Silver Cruises, MSC Cruises, Fred Olsen, Crystal, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and other shipping companies.
Overall, the Embassy was able to receive and process 6,171 applications for registration, certification, and transfer of records for the OAV.
Philippine Ambassador to Portugal Philippe J. Lhuillier, who assumed his post in Lisbon only on October 8, was the last to register on October 31, the last day of OAV registration.
With the opening of the Philippine Embassy in Lisbon in 2010, Filipinos living in Portugal no longer have to travel to Paris to avail of consular services and to register for OAV. Filipino seafarers, many of whom have not voted for more than ten years because of their frequent absence from the Philippines during election time, were grateful to the Embassy for bringing OAV registration closer to them.
Ambassador Lhuillier praised the OAV team, headed by Third Secretary and Vice Consul Rogelio Villanueva Jr., for their exemplary performance and dedication to duty, as demonstrated by their willingness to sacrifice their weekends and holidays for the OAV and do the almost impossible task of boarding three big cruise ships on a single day. The Ambassador recalled that in the Queen Mary 2 alone, the Embassy was able to register 365 Filipino seafarers.