International observers: Philippine gov’t not committed to fair, honest and peaceful elections

The first automated election in the Philippines was far from being fair, honest and peaceful, is the conclusion of a major group of international observers from 11 countries, saying that it was "the sacrifices made by the public school teachers and the resilience of voters" that made the elections possible.

The People’s International Observers’ Mission (PIOM) composed of 86 delegates from Australia, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Hongkong, New Zealand, France, Germany, Denmark and Argentina drew this conclusion from their experiences in monitoring the elections in the country’s nine regions. (Photo from Kodao.org)

The People’s IOM delegates went to Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Western Visayas, Caraga, Davao and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and monitored the pre-election preparations the day before, the voting process on May 10 and the initial canvassing on May 11.

Did the automated electoral system (AES) achieve its objectives? For the People’s IOM, the widespread intimidation, vote-buying, corruption and violence showed that automation could solve only part of the problem.

“In focusing on the machines, the Comelec [Commission on Elections] lost the people,” they said.

“The Philippine government is not committed to free and honest elections,” the People’s IOM delegates further said, noting that there was a sore lack in the preparations.

The People’s IOM delegates also noted that political dynasties and their armed militias still lord it over local politics. “The political and economic inequality creates vulnerability to intimidation and vote-buying,” the mission delegates said.

Read full statement here: http://piom2010.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/philippine-govt-not-committed-to-fair-honest-and-peaceful-elections/

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