First Time Voters Network Solidarity Night

28 02 2009
First Time Voters Network Solidarity Dinner

First Time Voters Network Solidarity Dinner


COMELEC OKs voters’ registration on Saturdays and Holidays

12 02 2009

Good news for students and workers.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) today announced that the ongoing voter’s registration will be extended on Saturdays and Holidays in order to accommodate the students and busy workers.

The poll body has resolved to amend certain portions of COMELEC Resolution No. 8514, promulgated November 12, 2008, which provided the rules and regulations governing the resumption of the system of continuing registration of voters nationwide, excluding the ARMM.

Among the portions amended in the said resolution, the COMELEC said, are Sections 4 which outlined the date, time and places of filing of applications, hearing and approval; and Section 6 which provided that persons who have not yet reached the required voting age or period of residence but will posses the same on or before the day of the elections may only register starting May 12, 2009.

COMELEC Resolution 8585, promulgated February 12, 2009, said that “there are compelling reasons for the amendments being sought in order for the Commission to accomplish the pre-election activities in pursuit of its mandate to conduct clean, honest, orderly, peaceful, and credible May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections.”

“There is a public clamor to open registration during Saturday to accommodate the youth-students and the busy workers, who have no time to register during the weekdays,” the COMELEC en banc said.

The COMELEC also recognized the need to encourage wider voter participation and to recognize the youth’s important role in nation building.

“As they (the youth) will comprise the majority of the first time registrants, the Commission deemed it best to lift the afore-cited time limitation in Secs. 6 and to provide additional registration days and holidays falling on weekdays, except Holy Thursday and Good Friday on April 9 and 10, 2009,” the COMELEC ruled. ###


First Time Voters Network in De La Salle University Manila

6 02 2009

Press Release for DLSU Activity

The First Time Voters (FTV) Project, a network of organizations and individuals advocating for the meaningful participation of young citizens in the electoral and political process will launch  its voters’ registration campaign on February 6, 2009 at the De La Salle University in Manila. This will be commenced by the launch of the first among the targeted satellite registration centers of FTV nationwide.

The network fervently believes in the pivotal role the youth will assume in the upcoming National Elections in 2010. The figures show that the participation of the youth will be significant in the turn out of the elections – the youth can indeed dictate who becomes the next President. As per the National Statistics Office, nearly 60% of the electorate in 2010 will be young people aged 18-25 years old and 9 million of whom will be voting for the first time. However, the network is adept of the shortcomings and difficulties incumbent in the process such as that of accessibility and voters’ education. To address these, FTV believes that steps have to be taken both on the level of advocacy and policy to improve the system at the same time revive the youth’s interest and belief in the electoral process.

The network submitted a petition for the improvement of the registration process and underwent a series of dialog with the COMELEC therefrom. This resulted to the adoption of its main proposals: the establishment of satellite registration stations which would facilitate the process in strategic locations and the setting up of the downloadable registration forms in the COMELEC website. These laudable initiatives will enhance the access of the voters to the process. Furthermore, FTV continues to move for the assignment of the first Saturday of each month as a special registration day for students and young professionals and the integration of voters’ education in the NSTP Curriculum.

The event will mark the intensification of FTV network’s commitment in raising the awareness of the youth in the political system as well as involvement in electoral engagement towards alternative politics and transformative governance. This campaign underscores the stake each first time voter has on the 2010 elections. Besides being a legitimate exercise of a constitutional right, active participation in the elections shows that the youth is ready to maximize such potent tools in determining the fate of the country and our future. More than a personal choice, this is a concrete step to the furtherance of 2010 youth agenda which includes appraisals in education, employment, SK reforms, and health.

Elections and human rights

5 02 2009


CHR Chair De Lima Gives COMELEC Chair Melo copies of the CHR book


COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo and CHR Chairman Leila de Lima talks with reporters after the book presentation

The following is a speech delivered by the Honorable Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Jose A.R. Melo during today’s presentation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to the COMELEC with a book entitled “Ensuring the Right to Electoral Participation: Giving Access to Vulnerable Sectors in 2010.”

The book outlines the rights body’s recommendations on how to best ensure the right to suffrage of the most vulnerable sectors in our society during elections: the indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons, the detained, the elderly and the first time voters.

COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo’s speech during the CHR book presentation:


2010 is just around the corner and this book – Ensuring the Right to Electoral Participation: Giving Access to Vulnerable Sectors in 2010 – is a very timely reminder to the Commission that our work should not just be limited to administering the elections. We must also be very aware that there are those among us who do not have as much access to the electoral system as they are entitled to and deserve.

And it is very fitting that today is also Global Election Day as we are right now at a very historic convergence.

Prior to today, very few people had ever even thought of elections in terms of human rights; certainly, those in field of elections tend to be more preoccupied with statistics and trends.

This book changes all that.

By inextricably linking the right of suffrage with the concept of human rights – in other words by considering the right to participate in free and honest elections as an unalienable entitlement of every person – we elevate both to higher levels within the hierarchy of individual liberties that need protection.

We wish to reassure the Commission on Human Rights, as well as its formidable helmsman – Chairman Leila M. De Lima – that this book will contribute much to the shaping of COMELEC policies from here on out.

We have already taken steps towards improving access to the electoral system – beginning with the creation of express lanes for the elderly, the pregnant, and for persons with disabilities – but we also recognize that there is so much more to be done.

And the COMELEC will do its share in spreading the word:

Disenfranchisement now cannot be considered a mere symptom of administrative failure, but an offense against the very freedom of a person; we must now emphasize even more that coercion, intimidation, and vote buying are not just despicable acts, that they are violative of fundamental freedoms; and of course, we must declare in no uncertain terms that electoral fraud is no longer just a felony, but an outrage against human dignity.

For this endeavor, this book will be our roadmap, our guide.

The book presentation was held this afternoon at the COMELEC Session Hall, in Intramuros, Manila. The event was attended by COMELEC Chairman Melo and Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Leonardo Leonida. The CHR, on the other hand, was represented by its Honorable Chairman Leila M. de Lima and Commissioners Cecillia Rachel. Quisumbing, Ma. Victoria Cardona and Norberto dela Cruz.

Also present during the book presentation were representatives from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), The Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, Balay (representing the internally displaced persons), Task Force 2010 and the First Time Voters Project.