Multi-sectoral groups flex muscles
Need for safe, dare and free elections as multi-sectoral groups call for COVID-proof elections
MANILA – With over 2,000 sectoral groups joining the call for the government to ensure next year’s elections would be COVID-proof as they called for safe, fair and free political exercise.
A unity statement was signed by members of civic, academic, youth, women, religious and other sectoral groups with lessens from the Palawan plebiscite and from other countries which had their elections that showed democratic processes can be held even during the pandemic.
They said the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) should be provided an additional P10 billion based on international best practices, and estimated additional cost the government needed to ensure the safe conduct of the Palawan Plebiscite last March. They also appealed to protect voters from COVID-19 and politicking.
The group said stricter measures need to be implemented from the beginning of the election period to voting day as the country can learn from the best practices in Indonesia, Singapore and the United States where political exercises took place.
The group known as Participate said there is a need to implement an extensive information and awareness campaign on the safety to boost the confidence of Filipino voters.
“There is a need to curb the expected rise in vote buying due to the country’s economic conditions,” they added in a statement.
“Election stakeholders such as civil society organizations, other government agencies, the youth, and other sectors could be effective partners in developing and implementing appropriate policy measures and regulations for the elections,” the groups concluded.
Participate is a non-partisan, pro-democracy coalition dedicated to engage and empower the political participation of the Filipino people. It also aims to strengthen citizen oversight of electoral processes, increase the availability and accessibility of information to promote informed voting and support constituency-building for electoral reforms. (Melo M. Acuña)