Responding to the challenge of strengthening democracy and restoring trust in our electoral process is the primary aim of Task Force 2010, a movement formed by different election watchdogs.
Task Force 2010 (TF2010) is a coalition of election watchdogs in the Philippines, joining hands to unite in the spirit of EDSA, that aims to restore the trust of the Filipinos in the electoral process by improving the upcoming ARMM elections, 2010 elections and beyond.
The idea of setting up this coalition was inspired by the late Commission on elections’ (Comelec) Commissioner Romeo Brawner’s “Ten-point Agenda for 2008 [ONWARDS]” and Commissioner Rene Sarmiento’s discussion on electoral reforms entitled “Building the House of Electoral Reforms for 2010 and Beyond.”
TF2010 is composed of the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, Center for Migrant Advocacy, La Salle Justice and Peace Commission, Citizen’s Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reform, Inc., Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, Teachers and Employees for Change, Education Reforms and Solidarity, Philippine Society of NSTP Educators Incorporated, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, First Time Voters Network, Confederation of Independent Union, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and The Institute for Political and Electoral Reform—a diverse group of the parish sector, civil society groups and the academe.
The movement’s objective is to awaken the people, especially the youth, into knowing, reflecting on, and doing something about the current situation of Philippine elections and democracy.
Task Force 2010 is determined in pursuing the electoral reform agenda such as to support and push for the general registration of voters, the Cleansing of the List of Registered Voters, and the massive mobilization for electoral participation of the vulnerable sectors, namely, the youth, the elderly, differently-abled, detainees, indigenous peoples, internally displaced persons, and the overseas Filipino workers; enhancement of voters education and information campaign on registration; strengthen ties with other networks and election stakeholders; the full implementation of R.A. 8436, as amended by R.A. 9369, or the automated election systems project.
Its priority is to guide the vulnerable sectors of the society, identified as detainees, first time voters/youth, elderly, indigenous people, internally displaced persons, differently-abled persons, and migrant workers, in the exercise of their sovereign electoral right. These vulnerable sectors identified make up most percentage of the voters, particularly the youth who compose 60 percent.
The group is continually coordinating with other election watch-dogs including Comelec and Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, said Fr. I.J. Chan-Gonzaga, SJ, executive director of Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, to ensure coordinated and concerted efforts in guiding the electoral process.
TF2010 is already talking to the locals. “It has launched its regional decks this March. Through these regional decks empower locals in participating and giving out their opinions,” he added.
The group also encourages people to come up with their own plans and initiatives to guard and reform the whole electoral process. They gave four steps to guide the people on what they can possibly do to help the campaign:
Step 1: Exercise your right. Go out and register.
Step 2: Share the information and help people responsibly exercise their political rights.
Step 3: Empower vulnerable sectors to register and vote in 2010
Step 4: Take the extra mile—volunteer to possibly do any of these:
1. Attend activities of TF 2010. You will be notified of these activities.
2. Contribute time, if you have, to help the secretariat.
3. Contribute creative work.
4. Blog about TF 2010 activities.
5. Donate resources.
6. Invite TF 2010 lead convenors to speak before your school, organization etc.
7. Host a public forum, dialogue, stakeholders meeting, barangay hall meeting for TF 2010 activities
8. Adopt the TF 2010 campaign in your local community
9. Organize in your local communities a group that would monitor the on-going registration process.
10. Assist Comelec in the conduct of registration, if asked.
11. File exclusion proceedings in court of those on the voter’s list but you personally know are disqualified to be part of the list—with the help of volunteer lawyers of TF 2010, you can weed out names that shouldn’t be in the voters list. –Patrick Adrianne N. Cabusay, Special to The Manila Times