Poll watchdog to hold summit for ARMM election

The summit is set on Monday, February 25 and will follow up a similar activity that they did last year by assessing the outcome and issues discussed during the previous summit.

The participants had previously listed several recommendations and proposals to strengthen election monitoring in the ARMM, which included the the signing of a peace covenant among representatives from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), military, police, political parties and candidates in time for the May 14, 2007 Congressional and local elections.

The follow-up activity this Monday will focus on developing concrete strategies to maintain order and security during elections, especially the safety of the voters, candidates, and board of election tellers and election officials. It will also identify the items that must be done, according to a statement of C-CARE.

The summit will be held at the Estosan Garden Hotel in Cotabato City, and C-CARE said it will coincide with the launching of the project entitled, "Strengthening the Election Process through Voters Education and Election Monitoring in ARMM (SEPVEEM)". The project is now on its second phase, and will be implemented in 1,500 barangays covering 80 municipalities and cities of the six provinces of ARMM.

The summit is funded by the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines.

Aside from C-CARE, participants to the summit include representatives from the Comelec, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The C-CARE is a coalition of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, people's organizations, sectoral organizations who are electoral reform advocates and committed to work for the genuine electoral reforms in ARMM.

The group was established in June 2005 and accredited as a citizen's arm of the Comelec for the August 2005 ARMM elections, May 2007 national and local elections and October 2007 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. (MindaNews)