February had already set the 2019 elections at its hot peak. In light of the increasing turmoil of the aspiring candidates and parties to one another, Asia Society Philippines (ASP) gathered together professionals as an educational panel that discussed what voters need to know.
With the participation of Commissions on Elections (COMELEC), the academic sector and the media, ASP highlighted the various factors that affected the previous elections, and to what might resolve the apathy and lack of knowledge of the Filipino voters.
The panel is comprised of James Jimenez, the Director of Information and Education of COMELEC; Maribel Buenabora, Executive Director of Parish Pastoral Council of Responsible Voting; Richard Amazona, Program Head of Youth Vote Philippines and Ellen Tordesillas, President and Co-founder of VERA Files.
Each panel member shared their researches and experiences. Jimenez, quipped that prior the lecture, he was ‘scolded’ in Twitter, referring to a concern of disqualifying candidates. Here he pointed out that, COMELEC might disqualify, but as the law mandates likewise the power of democracy bestowed by the constitution, the election is set to be “free and fair.”
Jimenez further expounded however, basing on the public participation in the social media that, “It’s no longer apathy. The biggest point now is how to improve the election participation.”
Tordesillas, a veteran journalist noted the power of social media—the ‘game changer’ as she put it back in 2016 elections.
“This year’s elections, the 2020 elections and years to come, social media will always be the top campaign platform for aspiring candidates.”
The panel members shared further on their insights on social media as the most capitalized advertising platform. Tordesillas opened up that, fake news, from creating false claims and manipulating of facts had been most prevalent in the time of elections.
They agreed that there is a “need to fight election fraud.”
On the latter part of the lecture, Jimenez himself demonstrated to the audience and the media how to vote through the Precinct Count Optical Scanner or the PCOS machine.