A total of 191,427 registered Filipino voters abroad have cast their ballots as of Wednesday morning, 18 days into the month-long overseas absentee voting.
This accounts for 13.91 percent of some 1.3 million voters registered abroad.
Data from the Commission on Elections' Office for Overseas Voting show this is higher compared to the turnout within the same period in previous elections—13.4 percent in 2010 and 7.12 percent in 2013.
While noting that they have a "bigger base" to cover given the record-high registration for the May 2016 polls, Comm. Arthur Lim said they appreciate the turnout so far.
"It is heartening to say the least because voter participation is crucial to political maturity and political awareness. Dahil kung mga tao ay bumoboto, ibig sabihin niyan nakikialam, nakikilahok sa halalan," he told reporters Wednesday.
Lim, commissioner-in-charge for overseas absentee voting, said they expect the numbers to spike as May 9 nears.
"We still have 11 or 12 days and we already have accounted for close to 200,000 votes. Malaki na rin po 'yon and in these last remaining days before May 9, we are expecting to double this number, so we are hoping—at the very least—we would reach 400,000. This would be a good threshold already for future elections," he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs set an 80-percent target turnout for overseas voting. But Lim said they would be happy if they reach 50 percent, or more than 650,000 voters.
"It will affect easily a close race, like in the senatorial race, for example, sa eighth to twelfth places," he said.
There is a total of 82 posts for OAV, 30 of which are using the automated election system.
The rest of the posts are using manual or postal voting.
OAV ends at 5 p.m. of May 9, as polling places are scheduled to close here in the Philippines as well. — RSJ, GMA News