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Church-based group clear to monitor Philippine local polls

Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting will add credibility to proceedings, election body says

Church-based group clear to monitor Philippine local polls

Workers prepare ballot boxes to be used in village and youth council elections on May 14 in the Philippines. (Photo by Mike Taboy/ucanews.com)

ucanews.com reporter, Manila
Philippines

May 9, 2018

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A church-based poll watchdog has received the all clear by the Philippine government to monitor village and youth council elections due to take place next week.

The Commission on Elections accredited the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) as its citizen arm for the polls on May 14.

In a statement released on May 7, the poll body cited the church group's experience as the reason for its accreditation.

"The [PPCRV] has contributed to the conduct of honest, orderly, peaceful elections," it said.

Elections Commissioner Luie Guia said having the PPCRV as a citizens' arm of the commission would "contribute to the credibility of the elections."

"[It] is consistent with our vision to forge a stronger partnership with election stakeholders," the official added.

The church group sought accreditation from the commission in March, citing its national reach and composition of individuals of voting age and registered voters.

The group also cited its "unparalleled performances" in the past.

"The PPCRV has consistently worked and aspired for honest, clean, credible, and peaceful elections," said the group.

"Its unparalleled performance over the years ... has undoubtedly showed the strength of its mandate and its relevance in electoral exercises," it added.

Also accredited to monitor the upcoming poll is the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), which has also served in past elections.

As citizens' arms, the PPCRV and Namfrel will serve as observers at polling stations, assist voters on Election Day and help the commission in its information and voter education drives.

Filipinos are expected to troop to polling stations next week to elect the heads and members of village councils and members of youth councils in 42,028 villages across the country.

A barangay or village is the smallest local government unit in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, 21 people have been killed in suspected poll-related violence, according to the Philippine National Police.

National police chief, Oscar Albayalde, says he has ordered heightened security measures to prevent further election-related violence.

"We have recorded a total of 16 suspected election-related incidents … 15 were shooting incidents while one was a stabbing incident. Twenty-one persons died, five others were injured, and one was unharmed," the Philippine Star newspaper quoted national police spokesman, Chief Supt. John Bulalacao as saying on May 7.

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