Election is everybody’s concern

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec), its partner agencies and the private sector and aspiring elective officials are now working double time to prepare for the conduct of the May 9, 2016 automated and synchronized national and local elections amidst the brewing issues in the national scene. However, it is not only those involved in the elections that should be ready but everyone should be ready to exercise their right of suffrage so that those who will be elected to power will be the actual voice of the people.

Many people believe that it is only during elections that Comelecc officials and employees perform legitimate functions. However, it is a fact that just like ordinary government workers, Comelec officials and employees have their hands busy in performing their daily office routine aside from their respective election duties and responsibilities. Much have been said about the preparations of the poll body for the conduct of one of the most important political exercises in the country but a breakthrough in voters education and as a feedback mechanism was achieved in order to keep them busy even after the conduct of the elections.

Baguio City is blessed as the pilot area for the implementation of its voter care center that was recently launched in order to appropriately inform the voters of the services they want to avail from the poll body without wasting too much time and resources to visit the nearest Comelec office in order to be clarified on what they desire to know.

Based on the presentation of lawyer John Paul Martin, city election officer, who made an academic paper for the project, the major services of the voter care center include the verification of the status of a voter, his or her precinct number and polling center; issuance of certification of voters registration for various purposes, complaints that will be referred to the required action desks and updates from the Comelec. By simply dialing the hotline 422-1991, a voter can immediately access any of the desired services by selecting the local number of the desired services without personally appearing before the nearest Comelec office. The voter care center operates through inter-agency linkages in order to effectively and efficiently address the queries of voters to help advance voters education and eventually serve as a feedback mechanism for Comelec to be able to know whether or not people are satisfied of their services. The Baguio-based voter care center will initially operate on an 8-hour basis and the poll body is looking into the possibility of replicating the same in other major cities prior to the conduct of the elections as well as making it round the clock depending on the availability of manpower and resources to sustain its operation.

Our people really need continuous and sustained innovations to be embraced by the poll body in order to bring the constitutional body closer to the people. The initial operation of the Baguio voter care center is viewed as a giant step towards making the services of
Comelec easily accessible to the electorate. Accessibility is now the trend of the times that is why all types of information and communication technology advancements are being availed in order to make life easier for everyone.

Incidentally, it should be the Comelec alone that should embrace such advancements in information and communication technology but it should be everyone because we will be the ones to make a difference during the conduct of the elections. Every single vote is valuable that is why as responsible Filipinos, let us not waste the available opportunities given to us by concerned government agencies to learn what would best serve as in order for the poll body to achieve a honest, orderly and peaceful elections. Again, much had been said about clean and peaceful elections but the bottom line is our attitude that was developed towards the elections. The success of the May elections depends on the way we are educated about the candidates and the ones that we cast in our sacred ballots.

Let us actively join in the numerous voters education campaign of all individuals and groups wanting to contribute their own little way to teach the voters how to make the right choice and for them not to be lost in their polling centers come election day. We salute Atty. Martin for being able to craft the concept for the voter care center and put it to real action through the support of ranking Comelec officials. We are again in the limelight for the pilot testing of the voter care center that is why let us maximize its use so that the same will be replicated in the different parts of the country. Let us not be fence sitters this time but let us make waves to make the voices of the people be heard and counted during Election Day. Let us not allow evil motives not only of politicians but also their supporters to reign as we now can use our easy access to information to disseminate what should be the best for the electorate before, during and after the elections.

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