Canceled names exceed new voters by 3.4 M

BY SOPHIA DEDACE, GMANews.TV
09/25/2009 | 01:17 PM

| | More With only a month to go before the registration period for the 2010 elections ends, the number of names purged from the voters’ list is more than twice the number of new voters that have signed up so far, according to records obtained from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

As of July 2009, a total of 2.7 million new voters have signed up since the registration period started in December 2008, figures culled from Comelec records by GMA News Research show.

During the same period, however, the number of names that have been purged from the list of registered voters has reached 6.1 million. Most of them, or about 5.6 million, are Filipinos who did not vote in the last two elections.

James Jimenez, head of the poll body’s Education and Information Department, said the figures should not give the impression that there is a low turnout of new registrants because more voters have been stricken off the voters’ list.

“There is a misconception that there is a target that we’re trying to reach in terms of the number of new registrants. There is not,” Jimenez told GMANews.TV.

He said hundreds of new registrants have been trooping to Comelec offices in recent weeks to beat the October 31 deadline. For the 2010 elections, “We are looking at 46 to 47 million voters,” he said.

As of July 20, 2009, Comelec records showed that there are 45,487,634 registered voters in the country. Deactivated and canceled voters are not included in the list.

According to the Commission on Population, there were 88.57 million Filipinos as of August 1, 2007.

For the 2007 polls, records show that 6.4 million potential voters did not register at all. Of this number, 832,000 came from the youth sector and 624,000 did not know that they had to register before voting.

Cleansing of voters’ list

Jimenez said the cleansing of the voters’ list is a continuing project of the Comelec to ensure that “suspicious” names and those ineligible to vote cannot participate in the electoral process.

Source: Comelec

The Comelec lists the following factors as causes for removal from the voters’ list:

Sentence by final judgment to imprisonment of not less than a year

Sentence by final judgment of crimes involving disloyalty to the duly constituted government or any crime against national security

Declared by competent authority to be insane or incompetent

Failure to vote in two successive preceding regular elections

Loss of Filipino citizenship

Excluded per court order

Death

Transfer to another municipality

Double registration

Double entry

Voters who failed to vote in the past two elections are only deactivated and can register again.

Asked whether the public should be alarmed with the large number of voters whose names have been removed from the list, Jimenez said that it is not a “cause for worry.”

He said the mass cleansing of the voters’ list is a necessary step in ensuring clean and honest elections, and should not be linked to the number of new registrants.

“Voter cleansing and voter registration are two different matters. The right to register to vote is a choice, but cleaning the voters’ list is a must,” Jimenez said. – with GMA NEWS RESEARCH, GMANews.TV

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‘Obama’s new media tack can work in RP’

by Maria Althea Teves, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak | 07/25/2009 3:46 AM

MANILA – It is no secret that US President Barack Obama won partly for using new media in his 2008 campaign.

New media is defined by Obama New Media Operations Manager Mary Joyce as a media message created, produced and read by the people. This means media found on the internet, and text messages via mobile phones.

Social networking sites have linked internet users to Obama’s webpage in order to know his policies and actively participate in discussions. But there is one key aspect the Obama campaign team is most proud of: getting online donations for the campaign that amounted to $500 million.

So what if they paid a dollar to the Obama campaign?

Joyce told abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak that the psyche behind donating money is that they feel they belong to the campaign. Joyce is also co-founder of digiactive.org, a volunteer organization helping activists around the world to use Internet and mobile phones to increase the impact of their message.
“Our marketing mantra was ‘own a piece of this campaign,’” she said. In turn, Obama supporters felt they had a say and the power to promote their candidate, and they felt more entitled to voice out what they feel and need.

Recognizing the importance of people’s donations, Obama even mentioned in his November 7, 2008 speech that his victory was built by working men and women who donated small amounts–from $5-$20–to the cause.

Joyce said that Obama did not have access to funds from the traditional elite of America so, “we had no choice but to campaign online, asking for donations from Middle America.”

Obama supporters, Joyce said, felt that Obama was accountable for what he promised because their money was used for their campaign. This way, they felt empowered and wanted him to win.

Donating Online to Organizing Offline

Obama’s campaign also encouraged his supporters to put up their own events at home, or wherever convenient, and invite their friends or family, whatever their political background.

Supporters could ask help from the Obama team in organizing their political-awareness event by filling up a form in their website, and the team would announce the event through the website.

“The objective of this was to get more Obama supporters,” Joyce said.

Organizing online with supporters to create their own event was a cost-efficient way of getting new supporters.

New Media and Old Media

Because of the innovations done to the Obama campaign, they were constantly being followed by the press, said Joyce.

She added that whatever achievement or new idea they introduced, they would send it to publications and make news out of their innovation.

“Without intending to, the Obama campaign was in tune with the concept of hope for change. We gave something new,” she said.

Since not everyone is familiar with online, it is also good to publicize these in newspapers, broadcast centers and radios.

Possible in the Philippines?

“Yes! It can happen,” Joyce said, imitating Obama’s tone when he says his popular ‘yes, we can’ slogan.

Contrary to popular belief that internet penetration is very low in the country, Internet World Stats, as of March 31, 2009 there were 20.65 million internet users in the country. This was 21.5% of the Philippines’ population. The country was 7th in top internet user countries in Asia. China was the highest.

Promoting causes

Promoting causes and actively campaigning for elections through new media can now be an influential tool, said blogger, journalist and activist Tonyo Cruz. Cruz spoke at the “New Media: A Powerful Tool for the 2010 Elections” forum organized by Computer Professionals’ Union (CP-union) at the Sofitel Hotel Friday.

Citing Nielsen and Yahoo’s internet penetration survey done in 2008, Cruz said that even those in social class C2 (63%) and DE (21%) have internet access.

“Most of them are 15-19 years old, they are first time voters, as well as housewives and the employed,” Cruz said.

In the same survey, it said that internet content has more influence in terms of inculcating values than television, print and radio. It also showed that internet penetration is highest in urban areas, and in vote-rich areas like Pangasinan.

New Media Challenge in RP

But unlike Obama’s campaign, Rick Bahague of CP-union said that it might be hard to ask for donations in the Philippines from the middle class and lower class.

“Large political parties are dependent on the Philippines’ traditional rich donors,” Bahague said.

On top of this, Cruz said political parties don’t need the people’s money because they think they’re not accountable to them. And with their resources, they could already manufacture votes that they need to win.

Party-list groups to benefit from new media

Since party-list groups cater to a specific, marginalized target group, new media is a good avenue to promote their cause and make people feel like a part of their team, said Joyce.

Because they are accountable to the groups who support them, party-list groups, especially those which do not have machinery for campaigns, ask for donations, just like what Obama did.

Filipinos have a hard time trusting monetary transfers via internet. Thus, Bahague suggested that mobile companies could monetize small-value prepaid cards for subscribers to donate, which party-list groups can then monetize.

In the US, Joyce said that company Act Blue was responsible for monetizing political donations of Obama, as well as other democratic candidates.

“Donating could be a symbol of commitment (from the supporters and the accountability of the party-list group),” said Bahague.

It is possible, he said, for the marginalized to feel as empowered as Obama’s supporters in the 2008 US presidential elections.

as of 07/26/2009 11:44 AM

running in 2010

spliceanddice,

Most likely I will not be running for the Senate in 2010 since my brother is up for re-election. It will be hard since the machinery, the resources would be split in case we both run at the same time.

My best chance was last 2007, had I went through my candidacy, modesty aside I would have made it in the magic 12 as surveys have shown. With the opposition bandwagon, I would have been a Senator by now.

But I had to give way so that the opposition may be united. It was a big sacrifice and I must admit, it was a hard one too. But I always look at the bigger picture, I think my sacrifice would benefit the opposition, which would stand as a safeguard against the inept and scandal-ridden Arroyo regime.

If I was able to make the sacrifice of being a Senator last election, that goes to show that my personal interest is only secondary to the interest of our country.

I would always keep the fire and idealism of the youth burning, whether I am in the Senate or not.

May pag-asa,

JV Ejercito

The road to 2010

Danton Remoto
Remote Control
www.abs-cbn.com/news

I am reprinting my column which appeared in this week’s issue of www.abs-cbn.com/news. Although it seems I am talking about us, let me say I am also talking about the other young people who want to enter politics but are afraid of the dirt, the muck, the mud usually associated with it. Thanks.

***
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. So is the road to 2010.

It is still two years before the elections, but the battles have already begun. In the third district of Quezon City where I live, the councilors running for vice-mayor have strung many tarpaulins showing their fat, oily faces. Since they would be vacating their seats they have warmed for three terms, they have included photos of their wives, or sisters, or brothers, along with the pet poodle named Fifi to complete the family portrait. Of course, the wives, sisters, or brothers would run for councilors two years from now. In the Philippines, this is not called a political dynasty. It is called royalty.

Some of them are wise about it, in the Tagalog meaning of wise as in ”tuso.” They are offering 50 percent tuition discounts at some middling school or other. And when the poor people of Escopa would go to the schools, they would be informed that the councilors’ discount is 50 percent, yes, but the tuition is worth P18,000 per semester. And where would Aling Mila, who queues for four hours to buy two kilos of NFA rice, get that P9,000 to put Junior through school?

Or they are sponsoring bingo socials, or basketball games, or why not, even boxing matches, with them in tarpaulin poses that would make Manny Pacquiao blush in shame.

After I ran in the last elections and lost, I was contented to just return to my life a teacher of Literature, introducing students to the magic of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Pablo Neruda. But now as I write this column, my cell phone keeps ringing and ringing. Or else, it is beginning to be clogged up with messages.

Somebody running for congressman is asking me if I would run again for the same position? I won’t, I answer, not after seeing the election supervisors shuffled and changed by former Comelec Chairman Ben “Burjer King” Abalos one week before the May 14, 2007 elections.

“If you’re not running,” asked the persistent caller, “will you support my candidacy?”

I gave him my e-mail address and asked him to send me his platform. The silence of the lambs filled the other end of the line. “Hello?” I asked, and he was there again, resurrected from the dead, muttering that, yes, indeed, why not, I will send you my flatporms. Before I could tell him I wasn’t talking about shoes, he had already hung up.

Or take the case of this movie star running as a councilor in a nearby district, a friend of a friend, who is also asking for my, uh, endorsement. “My endorsement?” I wanted to say, following this with the laughter of a hyena. I never entertained the notion that my “endorsement” would amount to anything.

“Yes, sir, they told me you got 10,000 votes in the last elections, and you got them without any cheating!”

“Of course,” I wanted to answer, “without any cheating!” But I just resorted to my Americanism (aha, aha, aha), and let him drone on and on. I did not promise him anything even if he looked cute enough to play Superman in its next remake. I just advised him to begin working for the post now.

Yes, now. Two years before the elections, we do not need to see tarpaulins greeting us a merry Christmas, a happy Valentines, a great graduation, or a sizzling summer. I would advise below the radar-line campaigning.

What does it mean?

Good, honest-to-goodness work for and with the poorest communities. No fizz, no flash, no glitz, no glamour.

A real livelihood program, for one, where the people are taught skills, given initial supplies, then monitored afterward. A medical mission with good doctors, nurses and dentists, and a cache of medicines that could be used when the rainy season – and its illnesses – comes in. Books for the barangay library, so the young ones could learn to read and open the windows of their minds.

The list could go on and on.

But if I were you, you should also go out and talk to the youth. They constitute 70 percent of the voting bloc, and believe me, they will be a tectonic force in the 2010 elections. What I like about the youth is you cannot fool them. They seem to have what Ernest Hemingway called a “shit-proof lie-detector system” inside them that could sniff out the trapo from the real thing. The world wide web, the borderless world of cyberspace, cable television, even cheap air travel and the tales of wonder from their OFW relatives have made sure that in 2010, they will look for candidates who are young, bright, talented and brash.

Candidates who will call a spade a spade, a dictator a dictator – and step up the plate and offer themselves to the young voters. It is happening now all over the world, demographics have taken care of it – the rise of a new breed of candidates who reinvent the creaky wheel of politics. They do not have a lot of money, but they have guts and street smarts and the deep knowledge that they are inviting everybody to step aboard a ship A ship called hope.

My fearless forecast: the Jurassic candidates will doomed – those who are between 60 and death, those who give flowery speeches, and those who steal the country blind. We will see the revenge of the young voters in 2010, and it will give us a break from bad governance that we so richly deserve.