Baguio citizens launch poll watch


BAGUIO CITY — Church leaders and workers, various people’s organizations, and individuals launched the Baguio-Benguet People’s Watch (BB-PW) to monitor the forthcoming 2016 elections movement at the CRC Hall, Bishop’s House on September 25.

BB-PW is a broad alliance of groups and individuals involved in election watch work established during the 2001 elections. The alliance was born of the historical challenges and irregularities of the country’s elections that has undermined the purpose of such democratic political exercise.

The election watchdog, in a statement said that these challenges include the colonial legacy of relying on a narrow social elite to keep the reins of power in the government through political dynasties, wealth and unholy political alliances, including dependence on foreign support.

The movement mentioned also said that many politicians continued to use guns, goons and gold to bribe and terrorize electoral personnel and the wider voting public to get their desired positions in the government. It also mentioned the pandering or the unethical utilization of showbiz appeal, religious influences, ethnic and clan loyalties, corporate affiliations among others.

BB-PW pointed out that the effect of such practices is the electorate and the people as a whole never had the guarantee and confidence of genuine free participation in elections as a truly democratic exercise.

“On the other hand, enlightened political parties and leaders, legislative reformers and the other social institutions such as the church, academe, responsible business and media exerted tremendous efforts for many decades to grapple with said challenges and continue to hope to really overcome them,” stated the election watchdog.

In the launching, the objectives of the formation of BB-PW were presented. The following aims are to conduct widespread voter’s education on elections in general, and on the 2016 elections in particular through popular media that effectively reach out wider electorate; to participate and draw more volunteers for the actual poll watch and canvass watch operations especially at the municipal, city and provincial level; canvassing proceedings; and to take prompt action to expose fraud and violence, including legal action as needed.The BB-PW stated that a center will be put up for the coordination of different initiatives of the various groups as well as to implement joint activities with the City of Baguio and the province of Benguet.


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