THE COMMISSION on Human Rights (CHR) supports the Commission on Elections, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the accredited citizens’ arm, the Philippine National Police, non-partisan NGOs, barangays, organized communities, the mass media, and other election watchdogs in ensuring peaceful and orderly elections on 13 May 2019.
The CHR recognizes, honours, and protects the right to vote as a fundamental and inalienable right intrinsic to the right to participatory government.
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights acknowledges and provides that:
1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
2. Everyone has the right of equal access to public service; and
3. The will of the people—expressed in periodic and genuine elections—shall be the basis of the authority of government.
Despite modernisation, we are still hounded by old familiar problems starting from voters’ registration to the final counting and canvassing of votes; vote buying; disenfranchisement; manipulation of voters lists; voter intimidation and harassment, etc. Even before the start of the campaign period, politically motivated violence already claimed many lives.
New problems have also emerged, i.e., social media trolls who bully and spread hatred and fake news to influence or confuse the voters.
Plus, the horror of narco-politics.
Despite these serious problems, every election renews our hope for better governance; more transparent government spending; improved services i.e., access to quality education, health, employment and livelihood opportunities, waste management and environmental protection; better infrastructure; greater attention to the fight against corruption, poverty alleviation, enabling programs for people’s participation, etc.
More responsible men and women chosen and entrusted to govern mean greater respect for human rights—for the poor and the marginalized, who have less in life, truly deserve more in law.
Ordinary citizens who understand the duty to care can help strengthen the right to participatory governance through clean, honest, and orderly elections. We must all care, as our cherished freedoms and human rights depend on us.
We encourage the Filipino youth, Rizal’s “fair hope of the Fatherland”—from Grades 11-12 and college students on summer break—to get involved. Volunteer with election watchdogs, like the PPCRV and help ensure an honest, orderly, and peaceful elections.
We at the CHR are duty-bound to stand by citizendefenders of the right to vote.
(Statement of the Commission on Human Rights, May 1, 2019)