CHR urges Filipinos to vote, protect right to vote
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday urged Filipinos to vote in the coming May 13 polls and protect their right to vote.
“Let us exercise and protect our right to vote,” the CHR said in a statement, as it added that it supports the Commission on Elections, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, Philippine National Police, non-government organizations, and related agencies in ensuring a peaceful and orderly elections.
In urging Filipinos to vote, the CHR cited Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that states everyone has the right to take part in the government, directly or through freely chosen representatives; that everyone has the right to equal access to public service; and that the will of the people—expressed in periodic and genuine elections—shall be the basis of the authority of the government.
The CHR also noted that despite modernization, the country is still hounded by “old familiar problems,” that range from voters’ registration to final counting and canvassing of votes; vote buying, disenfranchisement, manipulation of voters lists; voter intimidation and harassment.
“Even before the start of the campaign period, politically motivated violence already claimed many lives,” the commission said.
“New problems have also emerged, i.e., social media trolls who bully and spread hatred and fake news to influence or confuse the voters. Plus the horror of narco-politics,” it added.
But despite these problems, the CHR said the election renews the hope for a better governance and services.
“More responsible men and women chosen and entrusted to govern mean greater respect for human rights—for the poor and the marginalized, who have less in life, truly deserve more in law,” the CHR said.
The commission also noted that voters “who understand the duty to care” can help strengthen the right to participatory governance through clean, honest, and orderly elections.
“We must all care, as our cherished freedoms and human rights depend on us,” it said.
The CHR likewise encouraged the Filipino youth on summer break to get involved by volunteering along with election watchdogs to help ensure honest elections.
“We at the CHR are duty-bound to stand by citizen-defenders of the right to vote,” the CHR said. /muf
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