News report from gmanetwork.com

Comelec accredits third citizens' arm for May 2013 polls
January 31, 2013 11:24am

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has accredited a third citizens' arm for the May 2013 midterm elections.
In a six-page resolution, the Comelec en banc gave the go signal to One Vote Movement, a mass-based constituency of mostly Protestant religious groups and non-religious organizations.

The group is composed of Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church, Balikatan People's Alliance, Alliance of Christian Development Agencies, Far East Broadcasting Company,. Heal Our Land Movement, Philippine Bible Society, among others.
The Comelec added that “One Vote was able to assist the Commission during the 2010 National and Local Elections and 2010 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections despite being a newcomer thereto, a not so easy feat.”

The Comelec has tasked One Vote to:
  • conduct poll watching in various precincts;
  • assist voters on election day, especially the senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, detainees, indigenous peoples and other members of the vulnerable sectors; and 
  • assist the Comelec in voter's information and education drives.

For its part, the Comelec is tasked to provide One Vote electronic copies of the voters' list and the project of precints “for the effective discharge of its responsibility.”
The poll body must also allow One Vote to witness the examination and testing of election equipment before the elections day.
One Vote must also commit to remain non-partisan during the elections.

The Comelec earlier accredited church-affiliated Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and elections watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) as its citizens' arms.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. cited their three citizens' arms to help them in their new tasks of campaign monitoritng, particularly the regulation on online campaigning.

In its petition, One Vote said it plans to revise its information dissemination system and to re-encode its list of nationwide volunteers and coordinators as preparations for the 2013 polls.

“This is one of the internal problems that were encountered during the 2010 elections,” the group said in the resolution.

One Vote was first accredited during the May 2010 presidential elections and the October 2010 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Section 52 of the Omnibus Election Code gives the Comelec the power to enlist non-partisan organizations to assist them in ensuring free, orderly and honest elections. — Marc Cayabyab/RSJ, GMA News



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