We, the academe, civil society organizations, youth groups, and sectoral leaders, call on the national government, Congress, and the electoral stakeholders to COVID-proof the 2022 elections. COVID-proof means ensuring that the elections are safe, fair, and free for all Filipino voters.
One year from now, the 2022 national and local elections will again put the integrity of Philippine democracy to a test. The government certainly puts efforts to address the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, these efforts may not be enough to fully surmount the health crisis as the virus continues to pose a threat to many public activities including the upcoming elections.
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. We believe that it can be done as long as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is given enough support and resources including budget, and assistance to implement effective health and safety policies. Alongside these measures, a multi-stakeholder approach could also support COMELEC, including extensive information and awareness initiatives, and protocols to ensure safe and fair political campaigns.
We further call for specific measures such as:
Ensuring that the COMELEC receives enough funds to overcome the fear and uncertainty of voting. An additional allocation of about PhP 10 billion is needed to implement measures that will protect citizens and create an environment of safe, secure, and credible elections. 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.
Protecting 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.
Implementing an extensive information and awareness campaign on safety. To instill confidence among voters, there is a need to establish an atmosphere of safety and trust in health protocols. 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.
Promoting safe and fair new normal campaigning. There is a need to ensure that political campaigns are safe and fair, that spending is transparent, and that candidates are accountable for their actions.
Adopting a multi-stakeholder approach to ensure transparency. Election stakeholders such as civil society organizations, other government agencies, the academe, the youth, and other sectors could be effective partners in developing and implementing appropriate policy measures and regulations for the elections. Transparency and cooperation can build the legitimacy of this democratic exercise.
We pledge to support COMELEC and other democratic stakeholders to consistently implement protocols that will ensure the success of the May 2022 elections.
We invite the more than 50 million voting population to join us in our call for a safe, fair, and free democratic exercise.
Ateneo School of Government (ASOG)
La Salle Institute of Governance (LSIG)
National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL)
Caucus of Development NGO Networks, Inc. (CODE-NGO)
Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS)
Action Bridges Aspiration Trainings Inc. - Maluso Branch
Alliance For Development
Active Vista Center, Inc.
Active Young Saver Society
Adlawan SK Youth
Advocates and Leaders for Action and Awareness (ADLAAW)
AIESEC in the Philippines
Aktibong Kabataan ng Dampalit (AKDA)
Al-barka Youth Serving Association
Al-Fauj Al-Imanie Philippines
Alamin Abdullah MALIGA
Aljalis Assalih Inc. (The Good Companion) - Pagadian City Chapter
Alliance of Magnanimous Youth Leaders Inc. (AMYL) - Cotabato City
Alliance of Magnanimous Youth Leaders, Inc. (AMYL) - Datu Anggal Midtimbang
Alliance Youth Philippines
Alpha Kappa Rho International Humanitarian Service Fraternity and Sorority Inc. - Maimbung Chapter
Alpha Phi Omega Lambda - NU Chapter
Alyansa ng Kabataang Mindanao para sa Kapayapaan (AKMK)
Alyansa Pasig Youth Group
Anak ng Tribu Higaunen-Talaandig Association
Asbury College, Inc.
Association of Foundations, Inc. (AF)
Asturias Youth Organization
Awladul Islam Islamic Propagation
Ayala Young Leaders Alumni Association Inc. (AYLAA)
Bacolod Youth Coalition for Democracy
Bangsamoro Young Leaders Program - Leadership Communities
Barangay X SK Council - Roxas City
Basilan Youth Development initiative movement
Batangas State University Alangilan Campus - Supreme Student Council
Bicol University College of Engineering - College Student Council - Albay
Bicol University College of Engineering - College Student Council - Guinobatan
Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP)
Bukluran ng mga Katutubo para sa Pangangalaga ng Kalikasan sa Pilipinas
Capiz Eco - Youth Volunteers
CapSU - Main Campus
CCC Student Parliament
Cebu Coalition of Student Councils
Cebuano Youth Ambassadors, Inc.Central Mindanao University
Central Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (CENVISNET)
Christian Family Movement Coalition of Moro Youth Movement
Colegio San Agustin - Bacolod Student Government
College of Education Students' Society
Collegiate of Engineering Council
Communicators' Society LPU-Laguna
CTE League of Leaders
Dagook Sindaw Kalombayan
Democratic Alliance Student for Integrated Governance
Department of Education (DepEd) Bulacan
Division of Bulacan Federation of Supreme Student Government and Pinas Forward Bulacan
Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University - South La Union Campus CSBO (DMMMSU-SLUC CSBO)
Eastern Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (EVNET)
Fatima Vigan Multi Purpose Cooperative
Federation of Trans-Parochial Charismatic Communities (FTCC)
Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
Future Leader of the Philippines - Capsu Dumarao Chapter
Future Leaders of the Philippines - CapSU Dayao Chapter
Gawad Laguna Inc.
Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardee - Aklan
Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees - Iloilo
GMA Cavite Youth Organization
Good Governance Initiative
Government Watch (G-Watch)
Green Eco Warrior
Hagonoy Young Leaders Program (HYLeaP)
Hijab for a CauseHumanities and Social Sciences Council - Liceo de La Salle
Humans Helping Humans Initiative
I Connect Youth Network
Innovations for Poverty Action
International Association of Youth and Student for Peace
International Order of the Rainbow for Girls
Iranun Youth Initiative
IYouDahanJuan Youth Network
Junior Philippine Pharmacists Association - AUF
Junior Philippine Society For Public Administration - Central Visayas Chapter
Junior Philippine Society for Public Administration - NCR Chapter
Junior Philippine Society for Public Administration (JPSA) - Western Visayas
Junior Philippine Society for Public Administration Central Luzon Chapter
Junior Philippine Society for Public Administration North Luzon Chapter
Junior Philippine Society of Public Administration - Southern Tagalog
Kabataan Moro - Mamasapano
Kabataan sa Kartilya ng Katipunan
Kabataang Likha ni Pedro
Kabataang Lingkod Bayan ng Pilipinas
Kabataang San Joseño Movement
Kabataang Tambuli ng Pasig
Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran Inc.
Kajatian Active Youth Organization
Kalibo Youth Development Office
Kapisanan ng mga Guro sa Araling Panlipunan Sangay ng Lungsod ng Butuan Inc.
Kapisanan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Araling Panlipunan (KMAP)
Katipunan Ng Kabataan - Barangay San Juan
Katipunan ng Kabataan - San Francisco
Kilos Ko Youth - Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat
Kilos Ko Youth - Imus
Kusug Batah Sug Inc.
Lakas Kabataan Sulu Youth Power Inc.
League of Young Catalyst
Ligaya ng Panginoon (LnP)
Liguasan Marsh Youth Association for Peace and Development
Local Youth Development Council - Aglipay
Local Youth Development Council - Malolos City
Local Youth Development Office - Jordan
Local Youth Development Office - Moncada
Lumba Bayabao Youth Leaders (LBYL)
Lumpukan Nu Kangudan Sa Libutan Lalawag A Kalilintad (LKLLK)
Lupon ng mga Indibidwal na Nangangalaga ng Kalikasan
Madrasatu Mentok Al-Islamiyyah
Makati Business Club (MBC)
Maki-BaKa (Bantay Kalikasan) Movement
Management Association of the Philippines (MAP)
Mindanao Interfaith Youth Circle
Mindanao State University (MSU) - Maguindanao Supreme Student Council
Montay Advocates of Peace and Progress for Youth Association
Moriatao O Ranaw
Moro Active Group of Apas Peace and Solidarity (MAGPAS)
Movement to Victory Group
Multiple District 301 Leo Philippines
Muslim Christian Youth Alliance for Progress
Muslim Students' Union Philippines Inc.