Friday, November 06, 2009

New Filipino electoral watchdog launched, warns of fraud in 2010 automated polls

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / November 6, 2009) - A new electoral watchdog called "Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change" was launched Friday in Davao City in Mindanao and has warned of electoral fraud or failure of election, in a digital and in a more grander scale possible as the Commission on Elections and the Arroyo government have yet to show or convince the public of a fraud-proof automated electoral system.

The said it aims to carry out voters’ education to ensure they are “aware and will take active role in ensuring that their votes will be counted.”

The group warned that the 2010 elections may have already been designed to fail with the automated cheating. It also asserted that the Comelec still needs to devise safeguards to ensure the validity of the result of the coming elections under the new system.

The launching was wrapped up by the unveiling of the People’s Agenda for Change which includes fighting corruption and vote-buying, promotion of good governance and voter's education that would demand electoral platforms from 2010 candidates that address the peoples' clamor for genuine land reform, strengthening of the national industry through nationalist and protectionist measures, and respect for human rights.

Pagbabago, a non-partisan group, will also formulate and use a "people’s criteria" that would define leaders deserving of the peoples' support.

"We aim not just a change of leadership in government but a decisive break from the poverty ridden, unjust and corrupt social system,” Bishop Constante Claro, spokesperson of the group, said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

“We will be bringing concerned citizens and groups into a more coherent and cohesive movement for change, one that is not just issue-based but carrying a comprehensive reform program; a movement that addresses the underlying problems of Philippine society and resonates with our people’s most deeply-held aspirations,” he said.

The bishop also called for vigilance and action in the light of unrelenting efforts by Malacañang, through its allies in Congress, to railroad a change in the system of government that would allow President Arroyo to remain in power even after her term.

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