/ 13 May 2021

More than 2,000 youth, academics and sectoral leaders came together to urge the government to make sure that the 2022 national elections will be “safe, fair and free for all.”

Citing the recently concluded Palawan plebiscite and elections in other countries, the Building an Inclusive Democracy said it is possible to hold democratic processes successfully amid the pandemic.

“We believe that it can be done as long as the Commission on Elections is given enough support and resources including budget, and assistance to implement effective health and safety policies,” the group said in a joint statement issued at a forum organized by the Ateneo de Manila’s School of Government.

“Alongside these measures, a multi-stakeholder approach could also support Comelec, including extensive information and awareness initiatives and protocols to ensure safe and fair political campaigns,” it added.

The coalition also stressed the need to provide an additional P10 billion to the Comelec so it can make appropriate measures to “Covid-proof” next year’s elections.

“This estimate is based on international best practices, and the estimated additional cost the government needed to ensure the safe conduct of the Palawan Plebiscite in March,” it said.

The group said voters should be protected from Covid19 and politicking. It called for an extensive information and awareness campaign on safety, promote safe and fair new normal campaigning; and adopting a multi-stakeholder approach to ensure transparency.