Unity Statement: Make the 2022 Elections Safe, Fair, and Free For All

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.



Signatories:


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

Active Moro

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

Bangsakultoura

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

Benta Uno

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

C's-SPARK

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

GoodGovPH

Government Watch (G-Watch)

Green Eco Warrior

H.O.S.T Organization

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

InclusiviTeach

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

LENTE Philippines

LGU Bulakan

LGU Claveria

LGU Orani

Liberal Youth

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)

Lung-Aw Claveria

Lupon ng mga Indibidwal na Nangangalaga ng Kalikasan

Madrasatu Mentok Al-Islamiyyah

Makati Business Club (MBC)

Maki-BaKa (Bantay Kalikasan) Movement

Maluso Ecowarrior

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.