More foreign observers flock
to election hotspots
By International Observers
May 12, 2007
MANILA, Philippines – In
addition to COMELEC-endorsed foreign observers, an independent team of
international observers from ten countries is preparing to document the conduct
of the local elections from the ground starting May 14, taking off from areas
and provinces hit by fraud and violence during the 2004 Presidential polls.
The team of twenty-five (25)
foreign observers shall troop to thirteen critical poll hotspots in eight
regions in the Philippines
this weekend as part of the Peoples’ International Observers Mission (People’s
Aside from observing the
general conduct of the elections, the Peoples’ IOM will be paying special
attention to possible cases of massive fraud and violence against progressive
party-list organizations critical of the Macapagal-Arroyo government. The
Peoples’ IOM will also be monitoring the looming showdown between the
administration and the opposition in the senatorial elections.
All set to go this weekend are
foreign observers from Canada, USA, Japan, Myanmar, Korea, Malaysia, Australia,
Norway, Belgium, Germany and Scotland. The delegation includes journalists and
media correspondents, members of the academe, visual artists, students, civil
libertarians, clergy, trade unionists, and officials of non-government
The Peoples’ IOM was convened
by civic-minded and concerned Filipinos in cooperation with electoral watchdogs
such as Kontra Daya, the PPCRV, Teachers’ Hotline of the Alliance of Concerned
Teachers, and Lawyers’ Monitoring Groups.
The foreign observers will be
accompanied by a documentation team comprised of independent audio-visual
organizations, people’s organizations, and human rights watchdogs to the
following critical hotspots and regions:
(Region XI and ARMM): The Peoples IOM will visit provinces, such as Lanao
del Sur, which were cited in the controversial ‘Oplan Mercury Rising’
disclosures and the wiretapped conversations between President Arroyo and former
election commissioner-turned-congressional candidate Virgilio Garcillano where
massive electoral fraud and vote-rigging took place in the 2004 Presidential
Capital Region (NCR): Delegates will observe the elections in vote-rich
and militarized urban poor communities in Tondo and
and Makati City where the camp of opposition figure Mayor Jejomar Binay’s camp
is pitted against Arroyo allies.
Luzon (Region III): Targetted for close observation are Pres. Gloria
Arroyo’s electoral bailiwicks in Pampanga, where her son is running for a second
congressional term and where administration allies are pitted against a priest
in three-cornered gubernatorial race and areas in Nueva Ecija, where human
rights violations and election violence continue even after the province was put
under COMELEC control.
Tagalog (Region IV): The delegation will conduct visits to
heavily-militarized areas in Quezon Province, where human rights violations,
political repression, and assassination attempts against local coordinators of
progressive party list organizations such as Bayan Muna, Gabriela, and Anakpawis
have been reported.
Also to be visited by the
People’s IOM are heavily-militarized areas in the Bicol Region (Region V),
Central Visayas (Region VII), Quezon Province, and Cebu, another of Pres.
Arroyo’s bailiwicks in the South.