28 Canadians in Philippines to observe Presidential election on Monday, May 10

                   International observers hold press conference in Manila on May 8, 2010.
                   Eighty-six foreign delegates from 11 countries will observe the conduct
                   of automated elections in the country’s nine regions.

Twenty eight Canadians, including a Member of Parliament, Don Davies (NDP-Vancouver Kingsway) are in the Philippines to take part in an international observers' mission for the country's presidential elections on Monday, May 10, 2010. (Photo by Raymund Villanueva)

Deeply fed up with massive corruption involving high level officials, government inaction on the chronic economic crisis and the escalation of violence and human rights abuses, Filipinos are looking for change at next week's election. Since 2001 when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed power, close to a thousand activists and government critics have been killed and forcibly abducted.

The Canadians and 58 other members of the People's International Observers Mission (PIOM) will monitor and investigate electoral fraud and violence. The Philippines has a long history of election fraud, manipulation and violence, exemplified by the horrific massacre near the town of Ampatuan on the island of Mindanao late last year in which 52 people were killed in cold blood, including a record 30 journalists.

The international observers will also pay particular attention to the first-time nationwide use of automation in this election. There have been warnings that a "failure of election" could be declared due to the failure of the automated machines, which will allow President Arroyo to extend her term or for the military to take power.

The May 10 election will end the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose election in 2005 was marred by allegations of her involvement in the manipulation of election results. Public fear about such eventually has been heightened this week, just days before the election, with the failure of many automated machines to read votes accurately in field tests conducted around the country.

Members of the Canadian delegation may be contacted for email and phone interviews.Please contact: 

Stefan Christoff: christoff@resist.ca; Phone/text: +63 921 598-2008
Please note that the Philippines is 12 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone in Canada

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