Philippines: Davao Groups Urge Voters to Vote Right

Apr. 12, 2007

DAVAO CITY — While political candidates are back in the campaign trail, several groups have emerged urging electorates to vote right.

During the Club 888 Forum of The Marco Polo Hotel on Wednesday, lawyer Ricky Diola cited the campaign being done by a church-based organization in Cebu City of voting against the candidate.

He said the Lifestyle Assessment in Support to Electoral Reforms (LASER) is in the process of studying activities of candidates to check whatever involvement they are in that would run counter to morals and values.

Definitely when the candidate is involve in illegal gambling or drugs or other related activities they will be part of those who will be voted against, he said.

Diola however said he has no idea as yet whether the move is now in Davao even as he said that voting against the candidate is a powerful tool of the electorates.

He said that even if the candidate wins but with very small margin it does not give him or her the mandate and could be subjected to the recall process..

Not voting for a candidate by law is also exercising your right to vote, he said.

He said by doing so they will not allow them (politicians) to control us anymore and not voting for the candidate is due to the fact that they did not pass the voters standard of the politicians they want to rule.

Diola however said that the group is still in the process of studying how to do about it and will elevate the move to the Commission on Elections.

Meanwhile an advocacy for a Shelter Vote seeks to identify which candidates have the genuine platforms that will address the needs and problems of the urban poor especially the homeless.

The move came when the Davao City Council handled in a snail pace the passage of the Shelter Code that will address the issue of homelessness and resolve socialized housing concerns in the city. The group has set a deadline for the 14th council to approve the code before the elections.

In an earlier report Virgie Bayo, president of the Kobbler Federation of Neighborhood Association, Inc. (Kofnai) in barangay Ilang of Davao City with 7,000 members said they are serious in their campaign as they vowed to seat or unseat a politician.

Kofnai is the lead convenor of the Shelter Vote together with the Homeless Peoples Federation of the Philippines, Panaghugpong sa Yanong Grupo (Payag), Community Organizing-Davao Experience (CDOE) Council of Leaders, Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (Sanligan)-Mindanaw and Hugpong Dabaw, Inc., a network of social housing non-government organizations based in Davao City.

According to Dolly Pascua, executive director of Mindanao Land Foundation, Inc. member of Hugpong Dabaw with 28 partner community associations in Davao City with 3,381 members, the future of the Shelter Code will decide their votes come May elections.

The Shelter Code is an integration of two proposed ordinances on Urban Land Reform Program that passed the first reading in 2003 and the Local Housing Board Ordinance that was approved on its first reading in 2005. (PIA XI/prixdbanzon)

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