On May 9th, the 2022 Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections were held in the Philippines. After six years of Duterte’s term, this particular election has the potential to change the trajectory of and decide the future of the country and its citizens. With reports of disenfranchisement, voter fraud, vote-buying, other voting irregularities, and even violence, the Philippines’ democracy, the right to fair elections, and the freedom to vote are all at risk.  

Over the past few days, the world has witnessed multiple incidents of voter disenfranchisement revolving around the 2022 Philippine Election. Leading up to the election, many overseas ballots were lost in transit or arrived late, creating unnecessary worry and fear among absent voters. On the day of the election, even more incidents of voter disenfranchisement occurred throughout the country. First, more than 2,000 Vote Count Machines (VCMs) were reported to be malfunctioning on the day of the election, leaving many voters at risk of not being able to submit their votes. With faulty machines and the implementation of limited space capacity in voting centers due to social distancing, many voters were subjected to waiting in polling lines for hours under the heat with a lack of food and water. These critical conditions and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presented a dangerous environment that may have discouraged all voters, especially those with underlying health issues, from placing their votes. In addition, reports of illegal campaigning happening on the day of the elections were reported in numerous districts or barangays.

In a seemingly “landslide victory,” the front runner and candidate on the cusp of being the next Philippine president is Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator during Martial Law. Despite Marcos Jr. asking the world to not judge him by his ancestors, we must not minimize the dark time of Martial Law in the Philippines and the recent efforts to rewrite that history. The disappearance and torture of people including but not limited to: activists, students, and journalists, the presence of red-tagging, and more than 100,000 human rights violations and abuses should not be rewritten as merely actions of the past.

In a radical movement of nonviolence, the 1986 People Power/EDSA Revolution brought an end to Martial Law and the Marcos dictatorship. This movement came in response to the physical human rights violations executed by the Marcos regime, as well as the proven instances of electoral fraud that were carried out in favor of the Marcoses’ continued rule. Showing the strength and true unity of the people, our ancestors toppled an unjust government not too long ago. We cannot forget the hardships and struggle Filipinos endured during the period of Martial Law. We cannot forget the act of utter bravery and resilience that it took to call for a fair election process back in 1986.

We, the Executive Board of Kasamahan, condemn the evident voter disenfranchisement occurring during the 2022 Philippine Election or “Halalan 2022.” The ability to vote is not a luxury granted by the government, but rather a human right. Every Filipino has the right to vote in a clean, fair process without fear of voter discrimination or electoral fraud. We urge the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to advocate for a clean and fair electoral process, to listen to the voices of the Filipino people in calling out for a recount of votes, and to ensure that every vote has been counted. We condemn the human rights violations and violence that has occurred during Martial Law as well as under Duterte’s term. Historical revisionism cannot erase the many people affected by those who take advantage of their power. 

With this transition into a new administration, we, the Executive Board of Kasamahan, stand with those who are continuing the fight for human rights in the Philippines. We urge people in the diaspora to educate themselves and others and continue to listen and amplify the voices ng ating mga kababayan, our people, back home. As a community, we unite and advocate for the safeguarding and defending of the democratic rights of the Filipino people and for holding the Philippine government accountable for any traces of electoral fraud. In community with Filipinos in the homeland, we strive to advocate for the respect of human rights and accountability of the Philippine government. 

Isang bagsak,
Kasamahan’s Executive Board (2022-2023)

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