Caritas Philippines on Tuesday, September 28, launched a coalition of faith-based and Catholic organizations committed to a clean, accurate, responsible, and transparent 2022 elections.
Halalang Marangal 2022 sets itself apart from previous efforts to safeguard the elections because of its efforts to curb so-called “fake news,” their involvement of international community observers, and their holistic, united approach, said coalition members at the launch.
“Although the objectives are the same and some of the names and faces have changed, the basic difference [of this initiative] is the use of media, especially social media, at this time,” said Network for Justice and Compassion President and Chair Philip Juico. “Because social media has been weaponized in the wrong way by certain parties and Halalang Marangal is also going to use social media in the right and virtuous and upright way.”
The coalition is planning to have a “#TruthArmy” program, inviting citizens to promote facts about issues and candidates on social media.
They also have plans to invite observers from the international community to ensure a clean, honest, and authentic election.
Other activities and campaigns that they have already begun or are planning to roll out in the coming months include those in relation to voter registration, voter education, precinct finding, and poll watching.
These campaigns are meant to help citizens understand and involve themselves in six stages of the election process that the coalition identified as the following:
- Register, discern, and vote sensitively. Get as many to register, particularly the youth. You cannot vote if you do not register.
- Press Comelec to comply with all provisions of the law, reactivate public service applications, such as Find Precinct [app].
- The voting and counting machines are key to transparent and honest elections, citizens should have a basic working knowledge of how these machines can promote transparent and honest elections and question it if not.
- Volunteer to assist citizens’ groups in random manual audits and parallel citizens counts.
- Support the proclamation of legitimate winners and peacefully resist fraudulent proclamations.
- Exercise vigilance and help protect the safety of international observers, volunteers, media, church groups, while in the performance of their duties.
“Ito pong ating Halalang Marangal ipinaliwanag na may supply chain po ito na binabantayan nating lahat.” said Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas Board Member Jun Cruz. “Noong mga nakaraang eleksyon po may mga sumisigaw ng voters’ registration, kanila, voters lang. Mayroong [sumisigaw tungkol sa vote] count, mayroong technology, nagkakanya-kanya po sila. Ngunit ngayon po nagsama-sama po kami upang bantayan yung buong supply chain o yung buong proseso upang ang lahat ng mga grupo na may expertise doon sa linyang ‘yon ay magkatulong-tulong.”
(Halalang Marangal shows that there is a supply chain that we must all keep an eye on. In previous elections, there are people who would shout about voters’ registration, they would only focus on voters. There are [people who focus on vote] counting, on technology, they kept to themselves. But now, we are coming together to keep an eye on the entire supply chain or the entire process so that all the groups that have expertise on a specific part can help each other out.)
This supply chain approach can also be emulated in regions where there are different groups with their own election-related advocacies, added Cruz.
Also present at the launch, which was held over Zoom, were Caritas Philippines National Director Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Tony Labiao, and The Faith Initiative – Ligaya ng Panginoon Coordinator In-Charge Kent Sitaca.
Halalang Marangal 2022 is composed of the following church and civic organizations: Caritas Philippines, the Episcopal Commission on Indigenous People (ECIP), the Episcopal Commission on Youth, former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod, Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), Bawat Isa Mahalaga (B1M), Brotherhood of, Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP), Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), De La Salle Brothers Philippines, Network for Justice and Compassion (NetJC), People Empowerment via Transformative Electoral Reforms (PETER), Philippine, Misereor Partnership (PMPI), Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB), The Faith Initiative, and Radio Veritas846.
Voter registration ends on September 30, but the Comelec may grant an extension following bills passed by the House and Senate seeking to extend the period to October 31. Filing for certificates of candidacy will take place from October 1 to 8. The 2022 Philippine elections will take place on May 9, 2022. – Rappler.com