ARMM poll watchdog prepares for October barangay elections

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/12 September) – Forty-five volunteers of a poll monitor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will gather for three days starting Monday in Iligan City to plan for the upcoming barangay and  Sangguniang Kabataan elections slated on October 25.

The Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms (Citizens CARE) will plan for the Pulong Tayo and Ugnayan Tayo, two of the grassroots-based voters’ education activities the group is implementing under the “Strengthening Electoral Process through Voter’s Education and Election Monitoring in the ARMM (SEPVEEM)-ARMM Project”.

Now on its third phase, the project is getting technical and funding support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the United States Agency for International Development, according to Citizens CARE chair Salic Ibrahim.

Pulong Tayo and Ugnayan Tayo, said Ibrahim, will help the voters understand more their role in improving the electoral process in the autonomous region.

The group will assess the results of the May 10, 2010 automated national and local elections aside from tackling organizational matters.

Citizens CARE, an alliance of at least 35 non-government organizations and people’s organizations in the ARMM established in 2005, is already applying for accreditation with the Commission on Elections as a citizens’ arm.

If accredited, this will be the second time for Citizens CARE to monitor barangay elections. The first was on October 29, 2007.

The group counts some 7,000 volunteers scattered all over ARMM, which comprises  Maguindanao, Lanao Del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)