Kagay-anons run for free, fair elections

Giano Libot
There have been alleged cases of fraud as CF cards were found in a dumpsite while votes were being counted in the May 2010 elections

FAIR ELECTIONS. The Xavier University Governance and Leadership Institute organizes a run for free and fair elections. Photo by Niccu Bagonoc

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – A total 5,000 runners took to the streets to run for free and fair elections on Sunday, May 5.

Titled “Run for Secure and Fair Elections” or SAFE 2013, the event was organized by the Xavier University Governance and Leadership Institute. It was the first run of its kind that attached itself to an election-related advocacy that saw an unexpected huge turnout. This, despite a short period of promotion.

Project coordinator Churchill Aguilar said, “We were overwhelmed by the number of runners.” He added that the event was intended to create awareness about the incoming national and local elections and focus on the advocacy of keeping it safe and clean.

A tight race for mayor of Cagayan de Oro is anticipated as incumbent Mayor Vicente Emano is being challenged by Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno who is running under the Liberal Party.

There have been alleged cases of fraud in the past as compact flash cards, election returns, and ballots were found in a dumpsite while votes were being counted in the May 2010 elections.

The huge turnout, according to Aguilar, is indicative of the people’s willingness and interest to participate in the advocacy. “It just shows how strong Kagay-anons resonate with our advocacy for a clean and honest election.”

Various personalities participated in the event, including Comelec workers and officials, as well as candidates. Regional directors of various government agencies showed up to support it.

Not all positive

Although generally positive, not everyone was receptive to the event. Some participants who were accustomed to more commercially successful organized runs and who identified themselves as fun-run regulars and enthusiasts said the event wasn’t as lively or exciting, and that there were no added features after the run.

One participant even remarked that the event was not just used to advocate for fair elections but was also used by some partisan individuals to promote their candidates.

Others said the purpose of the run wasn’t as clear as a handful who joined did not see who the beneficiaries of the P300 registration fee were. 

Notwithstanding the negatives, Aguilar said, “I think the event spiced up and built anticipation for next week’s elections.” – Rappler.com

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