TOP L-R: Dr. Jalton Taguibao, Dr. Jorge V. Tigno, Dr. Edson Tandoc Jr.; BOTTOM L-R: Mr. Eric Alvia, Atty. Elaiza Sabile-David via Zoom – Photo Collage by Natalie Narciso.
04 November 2021 – The Development Academy of the Philippines, through its Center for Governance – Policy Research Office (CfG-PRO), discussed the preparations for the upcoming elections in the seventh and final installment of the Thursday Talks Webinar series entitled “The Philippine Game Plan for the 2022 General Elections” under the Capability Building on Innovative Leadership for Legislative Staff (CBILLS) program.
Dr. Jorge Tigno, Political Science professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman, provided a comprehensive overview of the Philippine electoral system and its emerging challenges in the first session. He discussed the frameworks, institutions, and processes through which the elections are operated, and provided feasible recommendations for improvement.
Meanwhile, Atty. Elaiza Sabile-David, Acting Director III of the Education and Information Department (EID) from the Commission on Elections, gave a series of updates regarding the proceedings of the election process and what is in store for the coming months in the second session. She shared the turnout of voter registration and certificate of candidacy filing, as well as the adjustments made to ensure the safety of stakeholders during this period. She also provided the calendar of activities for the campaign season and discussed the working guidelines to be followed on election day.
For the panel discussion, Dr. Edson Tandoc Jr., an associate professor from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, expounded on the rise of social media and its increasing political relevance considering the potential threats to democracy that abound on such platforms. He explained how constant online exposure to fake news, trolls, and echo chambers result in deliberate alteration of beliefs and actions
Secretary-General Eric Alvia, from the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), highlighted the importance of civic participation in observing elections and promoting transparency against the backdrop of flawed political processes and inadequate accountability in governance. He advocated for the full disclosure of information through open election data and emphasized that all citizens, alongside relevant election bodies and organizations, must share the same goal of ensuring credible, honest, and safe elections given the future of governance that is at stake.
Dr. Jalton Taguibao, an an associate professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman, moderated the open forum where participants raised concerns about implementable actions for fake news, cybersecurity concerns, election day protocols, electoral watchdogs’ preparations, registration issues, and vote buying. Issues from the previous elections, such as vote tallying delays due to faulty machines and resulting waste from campaign periods, were also brought to attention.
Dr. Taguibao concluded the forum by providing a brief synthesis of each session. He reaffirmed that the effective reform of the electoral system requires constant review and continuous pursuit, and that the preparations for the upcoming elections must respond to the uncertainty of these times. He also took note of how social media adds a layer of complexity to the context of the coming elections, and how citizen participation can be used as a means to validate the credibility of the election results.
DAP CfG-PRO, Director Gilbert Lumantao, in his closing remarks, expressed his gratitude to the CBILLS participants, resource speakers, and moderators for their constant participation and support, as well as his optimism that the participants have become more aware of the need to revisit public policies and craft updated approaches to address issues underscored by the discourse from the series.
The livestream of this event can still be accessed through the Policy Research Office Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/DAPCFGPRO.