International observer mission launched to monitor 2022 polls
MANILA, Philippines — The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) launched an international observer mission (IOM) on Monday to monitor this year’s elections.
The IOM will provide independent monitoring until the confirmation of elected candidates in June, stressing the need for such amid the “worsening human rights situation” under President Rodrigo Duterte’s rule and the “widespread corruption and violence present in the past Philippine elections.”
“Whether or not we will have clean and honest elections is uncertain given various problems that our limited time may not be able to cover. Suffice it to say that the 2022 elections in the Philippines are important in defending whatever remains of our democracy,” said Danilo Arao, a member of election watchdog KontraDaya, during a virtual launch.
ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy explained what the situation on the ground would look like, saying the observers will be bringing recording devices with them.
“Basically, it looks like a foreigner is there close to the voting place in the company of other Filipino observers and with a recording device either a notebook, a camera, or both, and a microphone, a way to record a voice as well,” explained Murphy who experienced being an observer.
“In my experience, it’s unusual, a little bit unusual to see a foreigner present but it helps, it gives some confidence that there’s other eyes on the situation,” he added.
Murphy and Arao stressed that an international observer could offer a “protective presence,” should human rights violations occur during their monitoring.
“The capacity to report to the international media is an important protection to highlight anything that’s happening and therefore, hopefully restrain anything further happening. And of course, if you’re present, if an observer is present in a situation where there’s victims and there are responses already, they can provide some kind of protective presence,” Murphy pointed out.
“Bringing to light these violations to the international community would be very, very significant because we need to bring to the greater public’s attention what’s happening in the country,” Arao said.
The campaign period of national and local positions for the May 9 elections will start on February 8 and March 25, respectively.
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