Monday, March 16, 2009


Since the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), Parish
Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting(PPCRV), and the National Movement
for Free Elections (NAMFREL) entered into a Memorandum of
Agreement(MOA) with the Comission on Elections(COMELEC) to help attain honest, peaceful, and meaningful 2010 elections, several activities were already undertaken jointly or separately by these institutions.

One of the activities identified in the MOA is the campaign to educate and encourage the registration of the youth, particularly those who will be voting for the first time. Thus, in Bicol Region, the Ateneo de Naga University hosted a VOTERS EDUCATION AND SATELLITE REGISTRATION FOR THE YOUTH AND FIRST TIME VOTERS last Friday, 13 March 2009 at the Xavier Hall, Ateneo de Naga University.

In the 10am - 12nn forum, the resource speakers Comissioner Leonardo Leonida of the COMELEC and Mr. Lito Bunag of the PPCRV Special Projects Office provided inputs for the guidance and encouragement of first time voters.

In the satellite registration conducted by COMELEC from 8am - 5pm, at least 150 first time voters from Naga City were allowed to register as regular voters.

The activity also served to jumpstart the campaign for the holistic formation of students towards active and responsible citizenship thru participation in the 2010 elections.

Voters Education Forum for 1st Time Voters: 10AM-12NN
Friday, 13 March 2009, Xavier Hall, Ateneo de Naga University

Satellite Registration for 1st Time Voters (Naga City): 8AM-5PM,
Friday, 13 March 2009, Xavier Hall, Ateneo de Naga University

Ehem! Anticorruption Workshop in Iriga City

The Ateneo de Naga University Institute of Politics conducted with the Coalition for Bicol Development(CBD) and the Local Governent Unit of Iriga City the Ehem! Anticorruption Workshop last Feb. 20-21, 1009 at the Masosu Spring Resort. The IP Executive Director Mr. Renne Gumba was the main resource speaker and facilitator of the two-day workshop attended by non-government and peoples organizations (NG0s and POs) of Iriga City. Ehem! is a training manual produced by the Jesuits in the Philippines, intended primarily to enhance personal commitment to combatting corruption. Since its publication, Ehem! trainings have been conducted for government agencies, private and even religious organizations in the local and national level.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Schools to mobilize for 2010

Citizens participation in the electoral exercise is hardly a walk in the park. For instance, it is projected that for the 2010 elections, PPCRV and NAMFREL will need at least 500,0000 volunteers from all over the country to do the tasks of voters education, pollwatching, and quick count.

That is why I was so glad when I learned that educational institutions are mobilizing on a national scale for the 2010 elections. The COCOPEA and CEAP have inked a memorandum of agreement with the COMELEC, PPCRV, and NAMFREL.

Among others, the agreement intends to help ensure a clean and credible registered voters list; and to conduct voters education nationwide to encourage registration among first time voters. This is will be pursued in the spirit of collaboration in the following areas: (1)promotion of voters registration, (2)voters education, and (3)recruitment and deployment of volunteers.

Aside from ensuring a reliable pool of trained volunteers for citizens participation in the 2010 elections, this initiative will encourage a more coordinated and systematic learning experience among students of various schools and universities toward active citizenship.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Keep it up?

The wonders of technology!

I have witnessed its potential in transforming our electoral culture as early as 2003 when Ateneo de Naga University run several demonstrations of the software “Botong Pinoy”, a fully-automated voting system developed by Mega Computers.

You register as a voter by being physically present and having your identity determined through biometrics, characteristics which are spectacularly unique to each individual. This will include fingerprint, retina of the eyes, etc. This process is supposed to purge the voters list of “flying voters” intentionally doing multiple registration in several localities, and even those who pose as someone else registering several times under different identities.

In the election day itself, wonders of the touch screen technology with the voter simply touching the colored picture of the candidate he/she is voting for. And at the end of the voting process, he/she just confirms the choices entered and receives a print out similar to those issued by ATM machines, confirming the accuracy of the votes noted by the machine.

Most important, the vote you cast immediately gets counted and it takes less than a day to count total votes and determine the winners!
How excited I was then of the transformation it will cause the country’s electoral process!

But after two national elections and the 2010 elections drawing nearer, I am growing to be a lot more wary of the government’s ability and sincerity in pursuing modernization of our elections!

First, it(the national government) had chosen to invest millions of pesos in the purchase of counting machines which ended up rusting in some warehouse.

Second, it has refused to fast track the modernization law then, taking it up only when the 2007 election day was a stone’s throw away.

Third, it has failed to initiate the computerization process early enough and thus ended up panicking over such pursuit before the 2010 elections. I wonder if the COMELEC will have the ability and time needed to bid out, purchase, install the computer network nationwide, and train its personnel nationwide for the computerized elections.

But let us keep our fingers crossed.

If it doesn’t happen, we have always been known for being a patient and tolerant people anyway. Much as we may desire to push the government to work harder and faster, it seems we cannot! Much as we may desire to shame those who scheme to get elected into position, it seems we cannot! Worse, much as we may desire to act together and work for the common good, it seems we cannot!

But even if we cannot, its a wonder we still keep our fingers crossed...