Ensure safe, fair, and free elections for all
QUEZON CITY – Less than a year away from the May 2022 elections and with the continued threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more than 2,000 sectoral groups join the call to the government to COVID-proof the national polls next year.
In a unity statement, thousands of members of civic, academic, youth, women, religious, and other sectoral groups supported the call to ensure that the 2022 elections will be safe, fair, and free for all
“Lessons from the recently-concluded Palawan plebiscite and from several countries that recently held their elections showed us that it is possible to hold democratic processes successfully amidst the pandemic,” the groups said.
The groups emphasized the need to provide the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) an additional allocation of Php 10 billion.
“This estimate is based on international best practices, and the estimated additional cost the government needed to ensure the safe conduct of the Palawan Plebiscite in March.”
The groups also appealed to protect voters from COVID-19 and politicking.
“Stricter measures should be implemented from the start of the election period to voting day. The Philippines can learn from the best practices of countries that successfully held their elections amidst the pandemic such as Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States.”
“There is a need to curb the expected rise in vote buying due to the country’s economic conditions. It will also be critical not to politicize impending access to vaccines by making them fairly available to all based on identified needs and criteria. Responsive, prompt, and efficient distribution of financial aid will also help reduce politicizing social development, and consequently, the elections,” the statement further said.
The groups also added that there is a need to implement an extensive information and awareness campaign on safety to boost the confidence of Filipino voters.
“It is critical to provide accessible and reliable information on the safety measures done to prepare for election day, and to form effective campaigns against disinformation and misinformation that may cause fear and concern among the voters.”
They also emphasized the need for a multi-stakeholder approach in preparing for the 2022 election. The groups noted that transparency and cooperation can build the legitimacy of this democratic exercise.
“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 said.
Participate is a non-partisan, pro-democracy coalition dedicated to engage and empower the political participation of the Filipino people. It 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.