Previous Electoral Reforms & Advocacy
Election Service Reform Act (ESRA)
ESRA was to reduce the incentives for political interference in teacher hiring and promotions. The law paves the way for critical social outcomes:
ESRA allows for:
- Public school teachers opt-out of election service and Shielding teachers from political pressures and safeguarding their welfare.
- Ordinary citizens (non-public school teachers) to serve as election staff.
- ESRA set selection criteria that will hinder the enlistment of partisan local government employees and grant election service to the following, in order of preference:
- Private school teachers
- National government employees
- DepEd non-teaching personnel
- Other national government officials and employees holding regular or permanent positions
- Members of the COMELEC-accredited citizens’ arms, or civil society organizations/ non-government organizations
- Any registered voter of the city or municipality of known integrity and competence has no connection to any candidate or political party—tangible improvements in teacher welfare.
- ESRA doubles the honoraria of the chairman of the BEIs from PhP 3,000 (AUD 77) to PhP 6,000 (AUD 155). Honoraria for Board members shall also increase from PhP 3,000 (AUD 77) to PhP 5,000 (AUD 128) and increase the DepEd Supervisor’s from PhP 3,000 (AUD 77) to PhP 4,000 (AUD 103). Another significant benefit is the establishment of a legal indemnification package for BEI members.
Indigenous Peoples Project was piloted in 2016 Elections in different Mangyan tribe communities in 2 provinces of Mindoro. The objective is to address the several major hindrances to electoral participation facing by the IP communities. The hindrances acronym is A.I.D.
A - Accessibility
I - Information and Illiteracy
D - Discrimination and Lack of Documentary Requirement
The concept of this project is to establish Separate Polling Places (SPP) and Accessible Voting Centers (AVC). The SPPs provide polling places exclusively to IP voters in voting centers, which give them a secure environment to vote while AVCs transfer IP voters from their existing voting centers to schools that are near to their communities. AVCs make the voting process accessible to IPs and prevent them from being subjected to "hakot" on their way to distant voting centers.
The pilot areas for the 2016 elections have been prosperous, resulting in permanent AVCs and SPPs through the creation of IP Established Precincts in the 2018 Elections. With this, areas covered by the project expanded to Dumagat tribes in Bulacan and Tagbanua, Batak tribes in Palawan, and Aeta in San Luis, Aurora. In 2019, 5 barangays were added to the project.
Vulnerable Sectors Office
A separate office dedicated to the concerns of different vulnerable sectors - Older Persons, Indigenous Peoples, Personally Displaced Peoples, and Persons Deprived of Liberty - is proposed to be created in the Commission on Elections. The rationale for the creation of the VSO include:
- Sustainability of Projects. By having a permanent designated head and staff, the VSO will ensure the continuous implementation of the vision and projects that have the Committees already developed.
- Expertise on sector-based issues. Having people that focus on vulnerable sectors will lead to a deep understanding of the industry’s concerns and the development of a skill set in devising means to adequately address said concerns.
- Holistic approach and synergy of efforts. By overseeing the entirety of the implementation of the projects for each sector, the VSO would be able to identify issues that cut across sectors
Powers and Functions of the VSO:
In general, the proposed powers and functions of the VSO include (1) Policy Formulation, (2) Project Implementation, (3) Capacity-building, (4) Monitoring and assessment, (5) Inter-agency and civil society coordination, and (6) Other functions as ordered by the Commission.
The creation of the Vulnerable Sectors in the Commission on Elections was approved in December 2019.
Campaign Finance Provision
Candidates should be required to declare digital communications as part of their campaign expenditure. The term “digital communications” covers any communication placed or promoted for a fee on an online platform.
Particular provision inserted in COMELEC Resolution No. 10488:
Section 9, paragraph c: Internet, Mobile and Social Media:
“Each registered political party and candidate shall register with Education and Information Department of the COMELEC, the website and web address of the official blog and/or social media page of such political party or candidate.
Any other blog or social media page which, when taken as a whole, has for its primary purpose the endorsement of a candidate whether or not directly maintained or administered by the candidate or their official representatives, shall be considered official campaign blogs or social media pages of the said candidate.”
Current Electoral Reforms & Advocacy
- COMELEC Independence Bill (Amendment of Section 55 of the Omnibus Election Code, authorizing COMELEC to build or rent its own field office spaces and prohibition of LGU casuals in COMELEC field offices);
- BARMM Electoral Code;
- Code of Conduct for PR firms and individuals engaged in political propaganda and adoption of KYC (know your customer) verification protocols of online social media platforms;
- Elections during COVID-19 policy recommendations for COMELEC and Philippine Congress;
- Research on Political Party Financing; and
- SK Empowerment Project (a project to ensure that 105 identified barangays that have no SK officials would have SK officials by 2025 Barangay and SK elections).