'Gabay Halalan' looks for volunteers
MANILA, Philippines - Gabay Halalan 2013, a text and call center facility initiated by the Simbahan ng Lingkod Bayan (SLB), was launched on Monday, April 22.
Now on its 4th run, Gabay Halalan rolled out during the 2004 elections and continued to operate in the 2007 and 2010 elections. Junior political officer Frances Angela Estipona said that in the past, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) directed quite a number of the voters’ queries to SLB.
Tele-educators of Gabay Halalan answer inquiries about the election process which includes information on the automated election system and location of assigned precincts. They also provide information about candidates including their profiles and platforms. Gabay Halalan has a research team which receives assistance from Political Science interns of the Ateneo de Manila University.
SLB is a non-partisan group that aims to disseminate information and promotes voter education by giving the public relevant information.
“We are very careful. So if they (callers) ask for certain information, we give them what came out in our research. They (volunteers) have been told that if you’re asked for your personal opinion, we do not give that away because we lose our non-partisanship and unbiased information,” SLB associate director Neupito Saicon Jr said.
Text and call facility
The initiative aims to provide a better system of voter education by following the model of call centers.
In the past, voters who wish to inquire can call a landline number. However this year, in partnership with Globe telecommunications, voters can also send their queries via SMS.
In addition, the public is also able to access the Gabay Halalan website to access information about the election system and candidates such as educational attainment, track records, and stance on certain issues.
Text messages may be sent with the format: SLBGH2013 <space> CONCERN/S <space> NAME <space> ADDRESS to 2327 for Globe subscribers or to 09178902327 for non-Globe subscribers.
SLB’s hotline numbers can also be contacted: (02) 509-0414, 509-0081, 509-0087, 509-0420, 502-0497, 509-0836, 509-1747, 509-1860, 509-1876, 509-3229, and 09178511SLB.
Call for volunteers
Gabay Halalan's operations will run until May 13, 2013, and is located at Room 313 Convergent Technologiclal Center (CTC) of the Ateneo de Manila University.
Gabay Halalan is still in need of at least 30 volunteers. Anyone interested can get in touch with the organizers through the landline numbers provided above, or visit them at the Ateneo. – With reports from Gretzel H Lantican/Rappler.com