Politics

Comelec to hold summit next year to tackle election technological enhancement 

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PEOPLE line up outside the Commission on Elections office in Quezon City on July 8 to register as voters for the supposed Dec. 2022 barangay and youth council elections. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said the planned National Elections Summit next year would help the agency come up with technological improvements for future electoral exercises.  

On Wednesday, Comelec inked an agreement for the event with its partner citizens’ arms, civil society organizations and other stakeholders at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in Intramuros, Manila.  

“We are not alone in this endeavor and guidance from our partnered stakeholders would help us perform our constitutional duty with integrity,” Comelec Chairman George Erwin M. Garcia said at the signing ceremony streamed live on Facebook.   

He added that dialogue with key stakeholders and consultation from accredited citizens’ arms would help Comelec enhance its policies and identify its shortcomings during past elections.  

Comelec announced earlier that the summit will be held in January 2023. 

In June, the International Coalition for Human Rights (ICHRP) in the Philippines urged Comelec to review the automated election system and introduce reforms to discourage political dynasties from being elected.  

“The observers reported that the May elections showed a higher level of failure of the electronic voting system than ever before, along with a higher level of blatant vote-buying, a disturbing level of red-tagging of candidates and parties, as well as a number of incidents of deadly violence,” former Australian senator and International Observer Mission (IOM) Commissioner Lee Rhiannon said in a statement in June.  

Mr. Garcia said last month that Comelec would support amendments to the country’s election law to combat vote buying. 

“We want participation from all the sectors in this summit, not just the Comelec,” he said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez