Philippines: TXTPower hits Comelec ban on cellphones

May. 04, 2007

MANILA — Mobile activist group TXTPower denounces the Commission on Election’s
purported ban on the use of cellphones and digital cameras inside
voting precincts on Election Day.

“Most Filipinos use cellphones and never leave home without it. On
such an important day, the cellphones and digital cameras assume a new
role as documentor of acts of fraud and cheating,” said TXTPower
president Anthony Ian Cruz.

“The Comelec should focus instead on how to deter a repeat of 2004’s
Hello Garci call between Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and
President Arroyo,” said Cruz, adding that “any total ban will be
rejected by the citizens of the world’s texting republic.”

TXTPower is a member of Task Force Poll Watch, an initiative of
people’s organizations to guard against cheating especially on
partylist votes.

“What should be banned is the use of cellphones and digital cameras
for cheating. But cellphones and digital cameras used by pollwatchers
and voters to document the conduct of voting centers should be
allowed,” said Cruz.

“For example, voters should be compelled to keep away their cellphones
during actual voting. But before or after they vote, no citizen should
be stopped from using them,” said Cruz. “Otherwise, efforts to stamp
out cheating and fraud will be compromised, and media reporting may
also be adversely affected.”

Cruz also said that emergency services may be hampered by such a van.
“The ban may fave a fatal effect on emergencies on Election Day. What
if something bad happens? What will people use to seek medical or
police assistance?”

TXTPower has announced that its members and supporters will go out
nationwide on May 14 to help deter fraud through the use of cellphones
and digital cameras. “Photos taken could be easily processed and sent
to the authorities for proper action.” ###

****** INBOX is an archive of press releases, statements, announcements, letters to the editors, and manifestos sent to Davao Today for publication. Please email your materials to Davao Today reserves the right to edit or refuse material for publication. *****

comments powered by Disqus