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Int’l human rights group campaigns for safe, fair Eleksyon 2022

An international human rights organization on Monday launched a campaign to monitor the national and local elections in the Philippines.

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) said that through the International Observer Mission (IOM), they will independently keep an eye on the elections in the country from the start of the campaign period on February 8 until Election Day on May 9.

They also vowed to observe the subsequent counting of ballots and the declaration of the election results.

“The IOM will be made up of non-Filipino observers in all regions of the Philippines whose data collection will be compiled every two weeks into a report to be published to the media and all interested parties by the volunteer commissioners who will be outside the Philippines,” said ICHRP Global Council chairperson Peter Murphy.

Murphy added that they will issue a final report after the election results are announced.

The ICHRP stressed that there is a need for such a monitoring campaign due to the “worsening human rights situation under the Duterte government, and given the widespread corruption and violence present in past Philippine elections.”

“The international community has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the opposition candidates, its supporters, or voters and election officers if these elections and those elected have integrity,” said former Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Meanwhile, journalism professor and Kontra Daya convenor Danilo Arao said that while Eleksyon 2022 is the fifth automated elections in the country and the first one to be held under the COVID-19 pandemic, he emphasized that it is a vital event to defend Philippine democracy.

“The IOM is much appreciated because it helps bring worldwide attention to what we are going through right now as we try to battle state-sponsored repression and maximize whatever limited opportunities there may be in the coming national and local elections,” he said.

Arao added they will be advising the IOM regarding the places that they should physically monitor which may include areas considered as election hotspots. The international community may also facilitate visits in several polling precincts during. — RSJ, GMA News