Organized by the La Salle Institute of Governance, various civil society organizations (CSOs) participated in the third virtual knowledge workshop on citizen monitoring of the 2022 elections last 30 April 2021.
Attended by a total of 34 participants, the online workshop explored possible solutions on how to effectively engage election stakeholders and draw out practical ideas to overcome potential barriers in the electoral processes such as the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.
The workshop featured a panel discussion with the National Chairperson of Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), Ms. Myla C. Villanueva, and the Secretary-General of National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Mr. Eric Alvia. Ms. Villanueva emphasized that PPCRV’s goal is to involve not only the church, but also different representatives from sectors such as the youth, media, and technology in achieving clean, honest, accurate, meaningful, and peaceful elections.
On the other hand, Mr. Alvia focused on the role of CSOs in sustaining the participation of citizens in the electoral processes. Both of the speakers also shared some insights on the relevant issues on citizen electoral monitoring and oversight through the years. During the breakout session, the participants further discussed the challenges and issues faced by various CSOs in the electoral process.
Some of the issues identified before the elections are the need for a healthy discourse on elections, both on online and offline interactions, and the lack of supply of good, diverse, and quality candidates.
It was also raised that the COMELEC should take advantage of partnering with tech companies on conducting and increasing the reach of voters’ education. Specific on the election day, the participants pointed the importance of strict implementation of the safety protocols to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and taking account of the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable sectors to promote inclusivity of the electoral process. Further, as part of the post-election process, strategies in the monitoring of election results, and transparency on campaign expenses and violations should be improved.
Towards the end of the activity, the participants were enjoined to a pledge of commitment supporting the conduct of free, transparent, fair, and safe elections by strengthening citizen participation through the help of CSOs especially in the time of the pandemic.
Overall, the workshop reiterated the importance of volunteerism, engagement in policy-making systems, healthy spaces for the electorate and volunteers, and reinforcement of citizen monitoring in the upcoming 2022 National and Local Philippine Elections.
The third virtual workshop is organized in partnership with National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS, Inc.), and Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO).