Babae Network, whose volunteers recently observed the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) final testing and sealing, said they found irregularities and long-standing problems of the automated elections such as paper jams, unreadable printouts from the vote counting machines, to name a few.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – With only two days to go before the midterm elections, a women’s group is calling on the Filipino people to turn the May 13 elections into a platform to reject the present misogyny and macho-fascist leadership, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest sexist remark.
In a campaign sortie in Bohol, President Duterte has once again made sexist remarks when he said he found Mayor Tita Baja-Gallantes beautiful and that if it were him, he will grab and hold on to her panty if she tries to leave and “even until the garter snaps.”
This is not the first time that President Duterte has earned the ire of women’s groups. This has happened from his presidential campaign trail in 2016 up until this very day.
In a statement, Gabriela Women’s Party said the president’s allies who are running for public office “never bat an eye every time the President degrades, humiliates, and sexualizes women.” And as such, they do not deserve to be elected in public office, the group added.
But how can one turn their votes to resound a protest against the present misogynistic leadership?
Early this year, women workers came up with their “Womanifesto” to put forward their agenda for change this midterm elections.
Among those they listed are the women workers’ right to regular employment, to organize, to just living wage, to safe working conditions, and for those running for public office to champion the strengthening of policies to finally put an end to violence and discrimination against women.
Recently, the expanded maternity leave has been signed into a law and its implementing rules and regulations have been finalized. While this is a victory for women’s struggle in the country, they have yet to see how this will be implemented and fully benefit women workers on the ground.
Guard your votes
But knowing the long-standing problems in the country’s electoral platform, women rights advocacy groups formed an umbrella organization “Babae, Bantayan ang Eleksyon Network” to ensure that the votes will be protected from the 4Gs of elections – guns, goons, gold, and girls.
The 4Gs, the group said, have been used by traditional politicians to remain in power.
“As poll watchdogs, we need to work together and commit to fight electoral fraud and any attempt to disrupt elections,” Center for Women’s Resources Executive Director Mary Joan Guan said.
Babae Network, whose volunteers recently observed the Commission on Elections’ final testing and sealing (FTS), said they found irregularities and long-standing problems of the automated elections such as paper jams, unreadable printouts from the vote counting machines, to name a few.
Their members and volunteers also noted that there were defective Voter Registration Verification Machines during the final testing.
These problems, Babae Network said, may still persist on Monday.
The public may report irregularities or any electoral violence to Babae Network through the following hotlines: (Globe) 0977-2946937 or (Smart) 0920-5956245.
Meanwhile, volunteers are also welcome to join their information and assistance booths in Metro Manila, the group said.
Apart from Babae Network, reports may also be sent to Kontra Daya or by using hashtags #KontraDaya and #VoteReportPH.
Guan said, “If anything, this FTS serves as warning to all of us. There is a high chance that the elections will fail should the problems persist. Let us all be prepared in taking appropriate action to question and protest the results of the elections.”