The COMPACT for Peaceful Elections, a national campaign initiative of civil society organizations including community and church-based groups, the business sector and mass media, was launched in February this year to seek commitment for peaceful elections from political parties and their candidates.
In a press conference the Compact for Peaceful Elections International Observation Mission reported incidents of election related violence in selected hotspots in the country. On a mission conducted from May 6 to 12, the observation team covered Davao, Nueva Ecija, Agusan Del Norte, Cebu, Bohol and the Camanava area in Metro Manila. They observed that elections were not free from violence.
Amando Doronila is currently a visiting fellow in the Research School of
Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra. Having
just returned from a visit to the Philippines, he gave an election update to a
seminar at the ANU on 16 June 2004. Doronila’s insights of the currents
of Philippine political tendencies were described last year by President
Arroyo as “street smart and yet scholarly”.
The approval of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act (OAV) was a landmark in the Philippine Electoral process, effectively granting an estimated three million overseas Filipinos (seafarers included) the right to choose, for the very first time, the President, Vice President, Senators and Party-list representatives. The OAV set in motion the process of registration, confirmation of voters eligibility, and the development of guidelines for the conduct of the elections in places outside the usual Philippine public school classroom.
The May 2004 national elections are over. There were winners. There were losers. There was violence, vote buying. There were allegations of mass fraud putting at risk the credibility of the election results. There was violence. Philippine politics and elections anyway have always been one for the record with its usual ingredients of guns, goons, and gold. So what else is new? There is one — the first time implementation of Republic Act 9189 or the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003.
DEBORAH RUIZ WALL received the Order of Australia medal in the 2004 Australia Day honours list for service to the community in the areas of Social Justice, Reconciliation and Multiculturalism. A SPAN & CPCA member, Deborah’s articles, poetry and photographs have informed and inspired Kasama readers for many years. Here are Deborah’s personal reflections on being awarded an OAM.
Father Niall O’Brien, 64, a good friend, a brave and courageous priest of unquestionable integrity died last 27th of April in Pisa, Italy, after a long struggle with illness. He was an extraordinary Columban Missionary living out his commitment to the poor in the Philippines for the past forty years. An ardent advocate of active non-violence who was unjustly imprisoned during the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos for nine months alongside Australian Columban Father Brian Gore and seven Catholic lay workers.