‘More coordinated approaches’ suggested for post-election clean-up drive in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 May) – A candidate in the May 9 elections is seeking more sustainable approaches for post-election cleanups and suggests that “more coordinated approaches” be put in place for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in December.

A staff of Davao City congressional candidate Mags Maglana removes campaign materials after the elections. Photo courtesy of Team Mags Maglana

Maria Victoria “Mags” Maglana, a facilitator and consultant on governance, peace and development, said there should be a way for candidates to be accountable for the tons of waste they contribute during election time. 

Maglana was among three candidates who challenged the reelection bid of Representative Paolo Duterte, son of President Rodrigo Duterte. Paolo won.

The local government here required candidates from both local and national posts to clean up their own trash after the elections. 

Days before the election, Mayor Sara Duterte released Executive Order No. 15, series of 2022, mandating local candidates to conduct retrieve, re-use, and recycle all national and local election paraphernalia.

However, Maglana said the government could use a more comprehensive approach, so that candidates don’t just ride on the government’s cleanup program.

“I hope that all those involved in post-election cleanup drives will have more coordinated approaches in place for the upcoming December 2022 barangay and SK elections,” she said, while listing down five suggestions.

Maglana suggested that candidates take responsibility for the campaign materials they post instead of just riding on the government’s cleanup drive; that government offices should also have repurposing / upcycling projects or beneficiaries in mind instead of “just plain collection of what they already regard as trash;” that there are viable options for repurposing/upcycling materials and candidates be incentivized to recycle and repurpose instead of just throwing away what they are able to collect.

She also suggested that the cleanup drive include an educational component and that communities benefit from the repurposed/upcycled results.

Maglana and her team retrieved their campaign paraphernalia from May 10 to 12 with Maglana joining one of the sorties.

She said they were able to retrieve some 2,000 “good” condition posters and tarps last week and about 500 that are damaged and could no longer be used.

Her team has reached out to at least two non-government organizations that craft repurposed products, one run by a PWD organization, both in the third district while a women’s NGO has asked them for “as-is tarps” for distribution to their community partners who need these as “rudimentary covers for houses and informal economic activities.”

Maglana added she was saddened there were large tarps removed from private properties before the team could pick these up. 

“Imagine how many repurposed school bags and ecobags we could have made out of them,” Maglana said. 

On Monday’s resumption of a city-produced broadcast, Mayor Sara Duterte said she was satisfied with the compliance of the candidates here. 
“Nanggawas ang mga teams sa atoang mga local candidates para manghinlo dinha sa ilang campaign materials. To a major extent, na-comply man nila. Duna pa ko’y mga pipila nga nakit-an nga nakaligtaan or nabiyaan, pag naa ko’y maagian ginakuhaan nako’g picture, and gina-send nako didto sa kandidato telling them to retrieve their materials. So padayon na siya,” she said. (The teams of the local candidates have been compliant. I’ve been seeing some materials that are still up, but I take photos and send it to the candidates for them to retrieve their materials.)

Mayor Duterte is leading in the vice presidential race by at least 22 million votes over Senator Francis Pangilinan’s.

Asked what’s next for herself and her team, Maglana told MindaNews: “That’s a fair and good question.”

However, she said there were still unresolved issues during the elections that were worth exploring. 

In a Facebook post days after the elections, she said they monitored as part of their poll-watching efforts several issues – of individuals who found themselves inexplicably delisted and unable to vote in at least two voting centers; yet the names of dead relatives or those who have not voted in the past 15 years could still be found in the precinct level lists; that like in other places in the country, vote counting machines (VCMs) in at least two clustered precincts were defective and voters were advised to leave their accomplished ballots instead.

Her team also noted that a voter’s ballot was rejected by the VCM several times through no fault of hers; the voter left with no clarity as to what action will be taken by COMELEC as regards her ballot; and that despite clear guidelines, Electoral Boards in some precincts in the three districts of Davao City refused to issue copies of Election Returns (ERs) to major political parties, claiming that they were instructed by the Commission on Elections not to furnish copies and there were EBs who refused to allow poll watchers from taking photos of the ERs.

According to Maglana, “strong institutions, such as credible elections that provide legitimate mandates to leaders and mechanisms that enable citizens to seek redress for grievances, are necessary for government to serve the people well.”

“The just resolution of the above and other related elections issues will demonstrate that our political institutions are strong—and are continuously being strengthened—and work for the people and not just for the interests of a few,” she said.

Morning of election day on May 9, Comelec personnel said they were helpless to change the status of people who wanted to vote but had inexplicably found themselves delisted from the Comelec database. (Yas D. Ocampo / MindaNews)

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