NAMFREL’s Projects now Ready as its Strongest Arms

With exactly a month before the second National and Local Automated Elections (in Maria Ressa’s terms, the first Social Media Elections), NAMFREL or the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Election now readied its six big projects for the whole election period.

Although the cities of Pasay, Muntinlupa, Taguig and Pateros have not yet been started implementing the projects and some with no chairpersons, majorities of the cities in Metro Manila and in Mega Manila have now advancing its position in making a transparent, accountable, accurate, clean and clear elections.

The chapter chairpersons have assembled at the RFM Auditorium in Mandaluyong City to give updates to the project implementation within their respective jurisdictions. Present in the assembly were the NAMFREL’s chairman and former SSS President, Corazon dela Paz-Bernardo, the President of Asian Network for Free Elections and some other officials of NAMFREL from the National Headquarters. Present also is the chairman-emeritus of the organization, RFM President Joe Concepcion.

The six projects were discussed by the project heads started by Ms. Cora Ignacio. The projects of NAMFREL are the following:

1. Voters’ Education Program

In this program, the chapter chairmen are expected to deliver a better educational discussion for the upcoming elections to the people of the area they are assigned in. Basically, it should answer the question, “How tos” especially inside the voting area. It must also educate the people about the moral and social values of being a knowledgeable and intelligent voter, changing the perceptions of the people about what are the real positions of the elected officials in the communities, among others.

Chapter chairmen did their own strategies in educating the people. Some changed the name Voters’ Education to Election Community Forum because some get boring when hearing the word, ‘education’.

2. Voters’ List Monitoring

This project seeks to hand the Certified Voters’ Lists (CVL) available in every cluster precincts or COMELEC offices. These CVLs must be available in the public and must be posted two months before the election day.

The CVLs are important because NAMFREL will be able to identify list of names of voters who are (1) must not be in the list because they are either dead as certified by the Civil Service Registry, a non-voter due to minority, or has transferred voting place; (2) must be in the list but not in the list of voters; and (3) appeared many times in different precincts.

3. Election Logistics Monitoring

This will identify the if the accountable materials for the elections such as the Ballot, the PCOS machines and the CF cards are now being delivered in the respective precincts.

Problems in delivering, failure of machines, slow or no transmissions of Election Returns and others are falling under this project.

4. Campaign Finance Monitoring

This project will simply identify and check if the candidates are able to submit relevant documents such as reports about public rallies and campaign expenses, contributions and donations. Reports from the media networks that have been used to air campaign tv and radio ads will also be sought.

NAMFREL must also be countercheck with COMELEC if the candidates are able to submit those documents. A director for Campaign Finance Unit of the Commission said that if the winning candidate did not submit the report, proclamation to him/her will be null and void or simply, he/she cannot be declared a winner.

5. Mobile Poll Watching 

This project is the conventional and old activity done by any citizens’ arm or any people but the importance of it is still very relevant. In pollwatching, NAMFREL are tasked to oversee what are the happenings inside the voting place. Accidents, incidents and failure of the machines must be documented and reported to the chairmen or whom the chairmen designated to do it.

6. Random Manual Audit Monitoring

RMA Monitoring will be done to know if the COMELEC’s own random manual audit jive with what NAMFREL has counted.

7. Random Comparison of Election Returns (newest added project)

This program is a little bit more technical and Information Technologists are needed here.

NAMFREL will setup computers in the Trophy Room of La Salle Greeenhills where the collection of ERs are going to be transmitted using programs and software in the computer.

With all these projects, NAMFREL is ready for the upcoming automated elections. Because of the automated elections, NAMFREL has redefined itself to adapt to the changing environment. Before there was no automation of election, NAMFREL’s flagship project is the Operation Quick Count that sought to also count the votes from the precincts.

About NAMFREL

NAMFREL was established in 1983 at the height of the Filipino people’s dream to be free from dictatorship and dreaming of having a good, free and fair elections.

NAMFREL is a member organization of the Asian Network for Free Elections where its current president is a Filipino, a NAMFREL volunteer.

NAMFREL is in the forefront of the advocacy for free elections and was the first citizens’ arm for elections in the whole world. The vision and mission of NAMFREL led other countries to establish also their own version of a citizens’ arm. NAMFREL is in the seat of being look at by other countries as the inspiration for a nationalistic and patriotic love for the country.

NAMFREL still stands on the idea of “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”

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