INTERNATIONAL election observers composed of 15 delegates faarom the United States of America, Germany, Sweden and Japan are set go to different parts of the country to monitor the conduct and outcome of the Philippine election.
In a press conference in Quezon City on Friday, the Compact of Peaceful and Democratic Elections (COMPACT) launched its 2016 International Observers Mission in an effort to ensure free, peaceful and fair elections in the country.
They are a consortium of non-government and civil society organizations that seeks to address the growing incidence of election-related violence allegedly committed by both state and non-state actors.
The group said that the mission, which will be divided into four groups, will deploy its international election observers to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Bohol, Dinagat Islands and Santiago, Isabela.
“We chose these areas because they have the following factors, which are the history of election-related violence and fraud, presence of political clans, warlords and private armies, and presence of capable local civil groups doing election monitoring. We tried to select areas which we believe will give our observers a picture of the real issues and conditions we grapple with during elections,” said Arnold Tarrobago, COMPACT National Coordinator.
Tarrobago said that according to their study, in the last five electoral cycles since 2001, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has reported a total of 1,036 violent poll-related incidents, which claimed the lives of more than 600 Filipinos. The bloodiest period occurred in 2010 with 155 casualties and injuries.
The group said that this year’s mission is made up of parliamentarians, academics, youth and student leaders, as well as respected leaders from foreign parties and non-government organizations (NGOs).
Tarrobago also said that aside from election-related violence, the election observers have shown immense interest in the outcome of the presidential election.
He also said that the delegates are also interested in monitoring “iconic electoral battles” or electoral races widely perceived by many as contests between those that proclaim to be on the side of reforms and those that are allegedly associated with traditional and patronage politics.
The international observers will stay for four days, including election day, in their respective areas of deployment. After the elections, they will return to Manila for a comprehensive presentation of their observations and recommendations to the public and concerned government agencies, as well as the diplomatic corps.