COMELEC Office Closed on a Weekday

April 8, 2009

Sharing this post from Ralph of AYLA… kindly pass and also give feedback, reports if similar incidents are happening in your areas this summer. So we can see how to best address such unfortunate incidents. Lets get the youth and young professionals to register this summer. Thanks much. -Tanya

“I was so happy that the top management of our company has been very
supportive of the ongoing campaign of Ayala Young Leaders Alliance
advocating voters’ registration. We, the employees are entitled for
one-day leave just to make sure that we are registered in our local
COMELEC office.”

“The COMELEC website has a feature of checking whether an individual is
registered or not. I found out that I am still registered though I
have no records for my biometrics. After office hours yesterday, I
immediately proceed to the bus station for an eight-hour trip to
Mulanay, Quezon Province where I am registered. Aside from seeing my
parents whom I have not seen for months, I was so excited for the trip
to have my biometrics captured and claim my voters ID which I have
been waiting for, for the past elections.”

“Upon arriving at the local COMELEC office at around 10:00 in the
morning, all my excitement faded upon seeing that the said office is
padlocked. My temper escalated upon seeing the long lines of equally
excited youngsters whom I assume are first time voters. Some were even
wearing their PE t-shirts of some Manila schools. What I was not
surprised is that most of them are like me who intend to maximize
their long vacation and placing their registration among their to-do
list.”

“The COMELEC en banc released a resolution stating that their local
offices should be open during Saturdays and holidays. Today is
Wednesday and apparently not a holiday yet. Since no one was around to
check if the office will still open, I rushed to the office beside
COMELEC to inquire. Only to know the worst – the said office is closed
since yesterday.”

“I believe that all our efforts in the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance and
Youth Vote Philippines should by all means be given equal effort and
commitment from the COMELEC. What is it for those young men and women
behind the advocacy of promoting voters registration only to be given
this inattention from the very institution which should be the prime
mover of citizen participation in the electoral process? What is to be
expected from our campaign of getting as many youth as possible to
register if our target individuals will only encounter padlocked
COMELEC office with no single personnel around especially during the
very rare chances that they can spare time to exercise their duties as
citizens?”

“Do not blame the youth for being so-called apathetic. Apathy is a
result of outright incompetence of most of our public servants. Among
the youth, most of us are doing our share. It’s just that more often
than not, we do not receive the expected effectiveness from those in
the bureaucracy.”

“Given the average turnout of registration, it will not be an
astounding possibility to deprive hundreds of thousands if not
millions of voters. The deadline for the registration is cut short
from December 15 to October 31, 2009 in order to prepare for poll
automation, as reported. Such directive poses the possibility of
significantly decreasing the number of potential first time voters,
unreasonable closing of COMELEC offices aggravates the saddening
scenario.”

“In the 2007 senatorial elections, around 6.4 million potential voters
were not registered. This number has significantly increased for the
2010 presidential elections.”

“We can recall the outcome of the past elections where the winners of
national elective positions have a margin of less than a million.
Assuming without conceding that there were no (massive) cheating,
imagine the difference that the votes of those who were unable to
register could have affected the final tallies. Bottomline – the
impact of the evident disregard of this very office to their mandate
definitely affect the outcome of the elections and the impression of
the public of the worth of exercising their rights and duties as
citizens.”

We appeal for immediate actions from the Commission on Elections. No
more excuses please. We are all tired to hear the seemingly endless
explanations trying to sew the loopholes in the systems the same
commission are implementing. We are doing giving our contributions.
We, the public, deserve no less
.

Ralph Reuben C. Morales
Ayala Young Leader batch 2004
Senior Development Specialist
AYLC Alumni and External Affairs
Youth Leadership Development Unit

Ayala Foundation, Inc.
10/F BPI Main Building, 6768 Ayala Avenue
corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City

Email ralph.morales@ayalayoungleaders.ph |
Web http://www.ayalayoungleaders.ph

Advertisements

Youth votes

January 10, 2009

01/08/09

Posted under 2010 Elections

By Marjorie Gorospe

THE 2010 Philippine presidential elections are drawing near. Some aspirants have started subtle campaigning, hoping to catch people’s attention this early.

History would tell, however, that Philippine elections have been marred with fraud, casting doubt on people who are placed in power. This is one reason why some voters forego their right to suffrage.

Jaime Garchitorena of Youth Vote Philippines says one cannot blame some people for choosing not to vote.

Garchiterona says the Filipinos’ growing distrust with elections will only lead to more unwanted public servants.

“If you don’t trust the system, which you do not try to fix, then it still stays the same as distrustful as you thought it was,” Garchiturena adds.

Garchitorena says breaking this cycle of distrust is difficult. But people should not give up. He says “trying” means that people have accepted the possibility of change.

Youth Vote Philippines hopes to encourage the youth to find time to vote.

He points out that people should not complain if they chose not to vote. “Kung hindi ka boboto, huwag kang magreklamo [Don’t complain if you will not vote],” he adds.

He admits that it remains a challenge to encourage more young people to vote. However, he and his colleagues in Movement for Good Governance are not losing hope.

http://blogs.inquirer.net/philippineelections/2009/01/08/youth-votes/


YVote news release in support of Task Force 2010 press conference (December 9, 2008)

December 9, 2008

Youth groups support call for electoral reform;
push for improved electoral processes through Web-based technology

The reform-oriented youth network, YouthVotePhilippines (YVote), expressed strong support for the call of civil society groups to push for urgent electoral reforms.

In a press conference held at Intramuros, YVote members joined Task Force 2010 in calling for the general registration of voters, the cleansing of the voters’ list, the enhancements of voters’ education and information campaigns on registration, and the full implementation of the automated election systems project.

“We, the members of Task Force 2010, will not stand idly by while the general welfare is sacrificed and our political institutions, including popular sovereignty through regular elections, are thoroughly undermined. We firmly believe that Congress and our political leaders should focus on more urgent concerns like electoral reforms rather than self-serving so-called ‘systemic changes’,” the group said in a statement.

“As a network… we have decided to unite together in the spirit of EDSA and push for genuine electoral reforms. Anchored on the fundamental tenet that the people are sovereign, Task Force 2010 hopes to mobilize each and every Filipino who loves this country to register and vote, in order to proactively partake in safeguarding our democracy.”

This event comes at the heels of a series of events that YVote held in Cebu, Davao, and Metro Manila between November 27 and December 7 to encourage the country’s over six million first-time voters to register for the May 2010 elections.

Improved voter registration process

Continuing voter registration resumed on December 2, 2008 under Commission on Election (COMELEC) Resolution No. 8514. An excerpt reads: “Applications for registration, transfer of registration records, reactivation and changes/corrections of entries in the registration records/inclusion of registration records/reinstatement of name in the list of voters, shall be personally filed beginning December 2, 2008 to December 15, 2009 at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) of the district/city/municipality where the applicant resides from Monday to Friday, during regular office hours at 8:00 o’clock AM to 5:00 o’clock PM.”

YVote core member Mildred Ople, who actively lobbied at the COMELEC for the resumption of continuing voter registration, pointed out significant improvements in the voter registration process that have been suggested by YVote.

“YVote strongly recommended that COMELEC upload its registration form on the COMELEC website to enable registrants to obtain copies of the form and fill them out even before heading to the COMELEC office to register,” Ople pointed out. “This makes the process a little bit easier, and is articulated under Section 8 of Resolution 8514.”

As of this writing, COMELEC’s website, www.comelec.gov.ph, already houses the said electronic copies of the registration form. Applicants are expected to print out this form, accomplish it in three (3) copies, and bring to the COMELEC office for signing and thumbmarking in the presence of an election officer.

“YVote also suggested that COMELEC establish Satellite Offices to accommodate more registrants. This is articulated in Section Four of the said resolution,” Ople added.

Increased pressure, greater support

The group initially expressed grave concern over delays in re-opening voter registration, which was initially slated for November 3.

In a letter to COMELEC Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, YVote reiterated that young Filipinos would be a significant force in the 2010 elections. The group signed a petition outlining four (4) possible areas where it can help the COMELEC address some limitations of the registration process for students and young professionals who live and vote in separate places.

These include: the utilization of schools in COMELEC’s information campaign, expansion of the availability of registration materials to schools and the Internet, the setting up of satellite registration centers or field mobile registration units, and the assignment of additional special registration days each first Saturday of the month.

In return for COMELEC support, YVote committed to mobilize member student councils, organizations, and individuals in schools and through online social networking groups to volunteer in these various activities. The group further committed to help make information and education materials youth-appropriate and exciting and to immediately bring these to a wide number of youth through its networks and partners.

At an event signifying the resumption of continuing voter registration, held at the University of Santo Tomas campus in Manila, YVote Lead Convenor Ching Jorge recognized efforts by “senior groups” to ensure that young Filipinos are given a voice in 2010.

“YVote and its partners in the youth movement look forward to open and facilitative coordination with COMELEC towards the electoral empowerment of Filipino youth,” she stated. “While we are still pushing for certain electoral reforms to be put in place—such as election automation using more transparent, efficient methods—we are thankful that our elders were open enough to accept our recommendations for the voter registration process. In the end, this is about giving young Filipinos a voice, and we welcome the many converging efforts to ensure that Filipino youth are empowered to elect their president in 2010.”

Aside from voter registration, YVote and its network partners are gearing up for the roll out of its program’s other components: on-the-ground voters’ education, an online portal for comprehensive candidate information; and the development of a youth agenda framed on the eight Millennium Development Goals.

A network representing groups from various sides of the youth movement, YVote’s core members include:  the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, Akbayan Youth, First Time Voters Project, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations, the WhyNot? Forum, Youth Alliance Philippines, and Young Public Servants.


YVote news release on Dec 2 resumption of continuing registration

December 2, 2008

 

yvote-logo-red

Youth groups go full blast in promoting voter registration;

push for improved electoral processes through Web-based technology

A network of reform-oriented youth groups, under the banner YouthVotePhilippines (YVote), held a series of events in Cebu, Davao, and Metro Manila between November 27 and December 2 to encourage the country’s over six million first-time voters to register for the May 2010 elections.

 

Press briefings, media guestings, and a launch party were held from November 27 to 29 in Davao City. Present were representatives from YVote member groups Akbayan Youth and Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, as well as representatives from the Sangguniang Kabataan and local organizations Atty. Marlon Casquejo of the COMELEC in Davao was also present to support the event.

 

In Cebu City, a press conference was held on December 1, participated in by representatives from Akbayan Youth, TAYO Foundation, First Time Voters Project, Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, Sangguniang Kabataan, local organizations, out-of-school youth, and the National Youth Commission.

 

Improved voter registration process

Continuing voter registration was slated to resume on December 2, 2008 under Commission on Election (COMELEC) Resolution No. 8514. An excerpt reads: “Applications for registration, transfer of registration records, reactivation and changes/corrections of entries in the registration records/inclusion of registration records/reinstatement of name in the list of voters, shall be personally filed beginning December 2, 2008 to December 15, 2009 at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) of the district/city/municipality where the applicant resides from Monday to Friday, during regular office hours at 8:00 o’clock AM to 5:00 o’clock PM.”

 

YVote core member Mildred Ople, who actively lobbied at the COMELEC for the resumption of continuing voter registration, pointed out significant improvements in the voter registration process that have been suggested by YVote.

 

“YVote strongly recommended that COMELEC upload its registration form on the COMELEC website to enable registrants to obtain copies of the form and fill them out even before heading to the COMELEC office to register,” Ople pointed out. “This makes the process a little bit easier, and is articulated under Section 8 of Resolution 8514.”

 

As of this writing, COMELEC’s website, http://www.comelec.gov.ph, already housed the said electronic copies of the registration form. Applicants are expected to print out this form, accomplish it in three (3) copies, and bring to the COMELEC office for signing and thumbmarking in the presence of an election officer.

 

“YVote also suggested that COMELEC establish Satellite Offices to accommodate more registrants. This is articulated in Section Four of the said resolution,” Ople added.

 

Increased pressure, greater support

The group initially expressed grave concern over delays in re-opening voter registration, which was initially slated for November 3.

 

In a letter to COMELEC Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, YVote reiterated that young Filipinos would be a significant force in the 2010 elections. The group signed a petition outlining four (4) possible areas where it can help the COMELEC address some limitations of the registration process for students and young professionals who live and vote in separate places.

 

These include: the utilization of schools in COMELEC’s information campaign, expansion of the availability of registration materials to schools and the Internet, the setting up of satellite registration centers or field mobile registration units, and the assignment of additional special registration days each first Saturday of the month.

 

In return for COMELEC support, YVote committed to mobilize member student councils, organizations, and individuals in schools and through online social networking groups to volunteer in these various activities. The group further committed to help make information and education materials youth-appropriate and exciting and to immediately bring these to a wide number of youth through its networks and partners.

 

At an event signifying the resumption of continuing voter registration, held at the University of Santo Tomas campus in Manila, YVote Lead Convenor Ching Jorge recognized efforts by “senior groups” to ensure that young Filipinos are given a voice in 2010.

 

“YVote and its partners in the youth movement look forward to open and facilitative coordination with COMELEC towards the electoral empowerment of Filipino youth,” she stated. “While we are still pushing for certain electoral reforms to be put in place—such as election automation using more transparent, efficient methods—we are thankful that our elders were open enough to accept our recommendations for the voter registration process. In the end, this is about giving young Filipinos a voice, and we welcome the many converging efforts to ensure that Filipino youth are empowered to elect their president in 2010.”

 

Aside from voter registration, YVote and its network partners are gearing up for the roll out of its program’s other components: on-the-ground voters’ education, an online portal for comprehensive candidate information; and the development of a youth agenda framed on the eight Millennium Development Goals.

 

A network representing groups from various sides of the youth movement, YVote’s core members include: the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, Akbayan Youth, First Time Voters Project, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations, the WhyNot? Forum, Youth Alliance Philippines, and Young Public Servants.

 

 

__

Download the PDF file of the news release HERE


Cebu youth groups volunteer poll registration assistance

December 1, 2008

By CARINE M. ASUTILLA | ABS-CBN Central Visayas | 12/01/2008 7:38 PM

CEBU CITY – Different youth groups, community and school-based organizations gathered Monday to express their intention to assist the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in encouraging first-time voters to register for the 2010 elections.

The groups were led by YouthVotePhilippines and First Time Voters Project. Voters registration starts Tuesday.

The groups admitted that it would be a challenge for them to encourage 18-years old and first-time voters to take part for the national elections.

Ailee Tejano, project director, said that they will start their campaign by accompanying first-time voters to register on the opening date.

Tejano said that they will also launch concerts around Cebu to convince the youth to register. A voters’ education program will also be conducted in barangays.

On May 10, 2010, they vowed to organize watch groups to different voting precincts to ensure honest and clean elections.

Ernie Edralin, Akbayan-Central Visayas spokesperson, said that they will also ask the Comelec to create satellite registration offices in northern Cebu for the convenience of the youth who cannot come to the city to register.

They will also provide a Web site for the youth where they can check the background of their candidates to help them decide who to vote. Intensive information drive will also be conducted, they said.

The Comelec said it projects that there will be 4.5 million first time voters around the country especially coming from out-of-school youths.

The groups said that such number of votes is crucial especially in electing the next president.

The National Statistics Office listed six million first-time voters disenfranchised in the 2007 elections, two million in 2004 and five million in the 2001 elections. The groups said they want to ensure that no such revocation of right to suffrage would happen again.

The groups also clarified that they would not support or endorse any politicians.

The registration for this year will end on December 19, it will resume next year


Use Internet for 2010 polls: Group

November 29, 2008

*As of this writing, YVoters Jaime Garchitorena, Bianca Lapuz, and Niel Lim are in Davao; while Tanya Hamada is in Cebu. We are actively networking with organizations in these locations to spread the word about continuing voter registration, which reopens on December 2, and about YVote’s efforts to use technology in enabling voters to be better informed about their choices for 2010.*


Use Internet for 2010 polls: group
By Yas D. Ocampo | Mindanao Times

IN THE ADVENT of social  networking sites like Friendster, Multiply, Facebook and blogs,
a youth group has pushed for the massive use of the Internet in educating the public for the
upcoming 2010 elections.

Jaime Garchitorena, YouthVotePhilippines spokesperson, said that the Internet can be an
efficient arena to encourage first-time voters and vulnerable sectors in society such as
those who are physically challenged and in jail to register for the elections. “It’s easier
to connect now,” said Garchitorena as his group made their first stop in the city for theircampaign.

“We found out that there were  around 50 percent of youth voters in the previous elections,
 from ages 18-35,” he said.

YouthVotePhilippines, or YVote, is an alliance of youth groups pushing for information
campaigns on voters education.

Garchitorena said that not only there were unregistered voters, but also those who were
registered but have not voted yet.

He added that they are organizing a website that will serve as a venue for candidate information,
fora, and Internet based research for information on the 2010 elections.

Paula Bianca Lapuz of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines said that another effective
way to educate would-be voters is through music. She said that there was a huge turn-out of
audiences when they organized a concert to encourage vote registration last September in Cubao,
where they launched the event.

“In this battle of hearts and minds,” she said, “the youth are the most accessible through music.”

Garchitorena added that those who attend concerts such as the one they held came from all
walks of life. “The idea of voting should not just be a concern of one demographic over another,”
he said.

YVote also said that they are asking the Commission on Elections to urge those in the academe
to include voters education into their curriculum. “Schools are essential vehicles for voters
education because much of the first time voters come from them,” said Lapuz.

Garchitorena added that student councils are also significant in educating those who are about
to enter what they called “a political landscape.”
“YVote is Net2.0,” he said.  “Which means that it’s wiki’s, blogs, the portal are an open arena
for information about candidates.”

“Whatever our alignment is, we have to vote,” Garchitorena said, adding that there should never
be a vote to not vote, referring to certain provisions in some proposals of charter change at the
house of representatives.

Youth Participation Crucial in 2010 Polls

October 6, 2008

by Bianca Lapuz (Student Council Alliance of the Philippines)

Task Force 2010 (TF2010), a broad, multi-sectoral, electoral reform group, welcomed the coming together of different youth organizations in YouthVotePhilippines (YVote) as a major step towards creating a solid youth force for the May 2010 polls.

TF2010 is composed of various civil society organizations that are pushing for the cleansing of the voters’ list. They are also lobbying in  the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for alternative mechanisms to make the registration process for first-time voters more accessible.

Recently, TF2010 had joined the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in advocating for a “right-based approach to the vulnerable sectors’ maximum participation in the next national elections.” The vulnerable sectors represent individuals who are susceptible to electoral disenfranchisement (i.e., first-time voters, internally displaced, migrant workers, differently-abled, detainees, senior citizens, indigenous peoples, etc.).

YouthVotePhilippines, the youth component of the coalition, is deemed crucial in the lobbying efforts for the first-time voters. One of its convenors, and a long-time advocate of electoral reforms, The First Time Voters’ Network (FTV),  has submitted a petition to the COMELEC for the following requests:

  1. To utilize schools in voters’ information campaigns;
  2. To expand the availability of registration materials (also including downloadable formats); and
  3. To set up satellite registration centers in schools, community centers, and other accessible areas for easier registration.

“The rest of the YVote convenors will also submit their rejoinder statements to COMELEC to strengthen the previous petition,” says Jessie Villabrille, FTV spokesperson, in a statement.

According to Mildred Ople, spokesperson of the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, another YVote convenor, “So far, COMELEC has agreed to place the registration forms on their website, available for download, and to extend the registration days until Saturday for every first week of every month.”

“The role of YVote in Task Force 2010 will prove to be indispensable, as we all try to push for genuine electoral reforms in the upcoming polls. We join TF in its ardent pursuit of ensuring ZERO disenfranchisement in 2010,” declares Ching Jorge, lead convenor of YVote and Young Public Servants.

“2010 is looking at 9 million first-time voters and 30 million youth voters in general. This gives us enough reason to work hard from this day forward, because truly, the youth can elect the next president,” Jorge concludes.