Some people might call it information overload, the sheer barrage of election posters, campaign jingles, shocking revelations about candidates and vote-related events that define our milieu these days.
But some stuff still surprise us.
Like former President Arroyo’s lawyer Ferdinand S. Topacio being a party list nominee of that drivers’ group, Pasang Masda, along with former politicians and one convict (Romeo G. Jalosjos) suddenly reinventing themselves as part of a marginalized sector.
Find it on the website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec): www.comelec.gov.ph which also offers such crucial voters’ information as:
The names of party list nominees
The ballot template so you know what to expect on May 13
The list of candidates for national and local positions
The precinct finder, where you can fill up a form and know, within seconds, which precinct you’re registered in, and how to locate it
Everything about Overseas Absentee Voting
If that doesn’t work for you, you might want to go to the Namfrel website instead. The National Movement for Free Elections, the citizen arm of the Comelec offers a lot of election info, but easily the most accessible are the series of illustrated reminders (two samples above). For inquiries, call 451-1586; 736-0969; 788-3484, 0915-8293882.
Similarly, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) has released guidelines on how voters should choose their candidates. PPCRV national chairperson Henrietta de Villa said the guidelines are all about the power of voters “that is equal in value with the rich and famous…”
“It is only during elections when you exercise your right and responsibility to vote… beholden to none but your conscience, your country and your God,” she said.
Here are the PPRCV’s 10 Commandments for Responsible Voting:
1. Vote according to the dictates of your conscience.
2. Respect the decision of others in choosing their candidates.
3. Seek to know the moral integrity, capabilities, and other personal qualities of the candidates you will vote for.
4. Strive to understand the issues, platform, and programs of candidates and parties campaigning for your vote.
5. Do not sell your vote.
6. Do not vote for candidates using guns, goons, gold, and glitter.
7. Do not vote for candidates tainted with graft and corruption.
8. Do not vote for candidates simply because of “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude), popularity, good looks, or “pakikisama” (peer pressure).
9. Do not vote for candidates living an immoral life.
10. Always put the welfare of the country as top priority in choosing the candidate you will vote for.
Finally, there’s the Gabay Halalan text and call center, recently launched by the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan in partnership with Life Academy.
The facility provides “free, accessible, relevant, and unbiased information” about the elections to Filipino voters wherever they are, through SMS (or text messages).
Those who have no access to the Internet, don’t understand English or cannot read, are attended to by live persons at the other end of the line.
“The main message that the Gabay Halalan national operations would like to convey is the fact that regardless of the voters/citizens’ background, whether you’re a professional, a young person or a senior citizen, illiterate, or maybe someone who just wants to know more about the elections, you can just dial 101-49 (PLDT) and Gabay-Halalan (will be there to) help you,” the group’s website says.
“We need to have relevant and credible information before we can make an informed decision in exercising our right of suffrage.”
Aside from the Gabay Halalan link, voters can text their queries using the format SLBGH2013 <space> CONCERN/S <space> NAME <space> ADDRESS to 2327 for Globe subscribers, or to 09178902327 for non-Globe subscribers.
Contact the group at:
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan Loyola House of Studies Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Heights, Quezon City (632) 426-6101 loc. 3440/3441
For phoned-in queries, SLB’s hotline numbers are (02) 509-0414, 509-0081, 509-0087, 509-0420, 502-0497, 509-0836, 509-1747, 509-1860, 509-1876, 509-3229, and 09178511SLB.
Gabay Halalan’s operations will run until May 13, 2013. The facility is located at Room 313, Convergent Technologiclal Center (CTC) of the Ateneo de Manila University.
To know how you can be part of SLB, click on this link. Various opportunities await students, young professionals and like-minded organizations. •