(File photo)

MANILA – Overseas absentee voting in Shanghai has yet to start as the city remains on lockdown following the local government's stringent "zero Covid-19" policy, the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai said Wednesday.

Consul General Josel Ignacio said the Consulate is seeking permission from Shanghai authorities to allow the post to operate physically at least for absentee voting.

Apart from the lockdown-led closure of the voting precinct in the area, Ignacio said the Consulate has also yet to pick up election materials from the Chinese Customs.

"Sa ngayon po, sa kasamaang-palad ay sarado pa rin po ang ating presinto dito. Hindi po kami nakapagbukas mula noong April 10. At ang totoo po noon, mula noong katapusan ng Marso po nang dumating iyong election materials ay hindi na rin po namin nailabas mula sa Customs dito sapagkat nag-lockdown na nga po (Unfortunately, our voting precinct here is still close. We have yet to open since April 10. As a matter of fact, we have yet to get the election materials from Customs since it arrived in March)," he said in a Laging Handa briefing.

"Nakipag-ugnayan tayo sa Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office para very specifically, very categorically, ask them na payagang magbukas ang konsulado, payagang makalabas ang mga botante natin subalit sa ngayon ang sagot nila, dahil sa higpit ng lockdown at sa pangamba ng COVID ay hindi pa nila mapapayagan na makaboto (We're coordinating with the Shanghai Foreign Affairs to very specifically, very categorically ask them to allow us to open and allow our voters to come out, but as of now they cannot give permission yet)," he added.

The envoy said Filipinos have an option to cast their votes in foreign service posts that allow in-person voting, such as the Philippine Consulates in Xiamen, Hong Kong, and Macau.

But he reminded them that they must file their manifestation to vote in another post by April 30.

Based on the latest Consulate data, there are around 1,600 registered Filipino overseas voters in the area, most of whom are in Shanghai while a few are in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, and Hubei.

Ignacio said cases in the city are now slowly decreasing with the average daily cases now below 20,000.

As of this posting, at least five of the 18 Filipinos infected with coronavirus have been released from healthcare facilities in Shanghai. (PNA)