CHR: New hotspots of poll violence emerging
MANILA — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has revealed that new hotspots of election violence and human rights violations related to the conduct of elections are emerging towards election day.
In a press briefing on Monday, during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the CHR and Comelec for the monitoring of human rights violations during the 2016 polls, CHR Chair Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon said the provinces of Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, among others, have been noted for a spike in human rights violations related to the conduct of the elections.
The CHR chief, however, could not yet provide exact figures, though he said there have been “many” reports on such violations in these new areas.
“Right now our concern is that it seems we’re getting used to the regular areas, like Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Masbate, Abra….but there were reports of [human rights violations] incidences outside of these usual areas,” he told reporters.
“We still need to scrutinize thoroughly why incidents of human rights violations have emerged in these new areas but one obvious reason could be the heated contest among candidates,” he added.
Cases of human rights violations have been reported in more places leading up to the May elections, Gascon said.
He said the CHR has been compiling reports of incidents from the ground, including cases of harassment, threats and intimidation among candidates and their supporters.
He said they would release an initial report later this week, to mark 30 days before the May 9 polls.
Gascon said the CHR would deploy its 600-member staff to lead this, along with 31 civil society groups.
He added that they would like to recruit 10,000 volunteers for the initiative.
He added that they tapped civil society groups because of their “expertise in electoral reform and human rights monitoring.”
Among the groups that will take part of the initiative are the National Movement for Free Elections and the Legal Network for Truthful Elections. SFM