Go beyond elections, group tells voters

Romie Guialel, chair of the Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms (CARE), said that elections are democratic exercises.  

“But the people’s involvement or role in this process should not stop after the elections.   This should be carried on in another arena, which is governance, if the people in the area want to achieve peace and development,” he explained.

CARE has been conducting Pulong Tayo, a grassroots voters’ education program, in 710 barangays in 59 municipalities of six provinces in the ARMM.

Local volunteers who become ‘gurus’ after being trained by Citizens CARE carried out the Pulong Tayo.

The message of Pulong Tayo is citizen’s involvement to ensure clean and honest elections.

Citizens CARE was accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as citizens’ arm for ARMM.

As an accredited election watchdog, the group is tasked to conduct election monitoring in the May 14 elections.

Citizens CARE, a coalition of non-governmental organizations and people’s organizations committed to work for electoral reforms in ARMM, was established in June 2005 and was first accredited by the COMELEC for the August 2005 ARMM Elections. 

The group has forged a partnership with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), National Movement for Free Election (NAMFREL), media and other groups.

Citizens CARE is the lead implementing agency of the project entitled “Strengthening Electoral Process through Voter’s Education and Election Monitoring in the ARMM,” funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the International Federation of Electoral System (IFES).