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14/11/2016: TALAKAYAN WITH COMELEC CHAIRMAN FOCUSES ON PROTECTING THE VOTE, ENHANCING VOTING EXPERIENCE

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-096-2016
14 November 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Metro DC Fil-Am community, together with Embassy personnel, gathered at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on 10 November 2016 for a special edition of the Talakayan sa Pasuguan featuring Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista.

Chairman Bautista was in the US capital last week to observe and learn about the US electoral system under the US Election Program (USEP), which was hosted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto, the Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, recognized COMELEC’s support and assistance to Philippine Foreign Service Posts in enabling overseas Filipino voters to participate in the successful national elections held in May 2016, with a historic 81% voter turnout.

“We wish to express appreciation to the Commission and to Chairman Bautista, especially for their guidance and cooperation with respect to the conduct of the Overseas Voters’ Education Forum by the Embassy and Consulates General in the United States,” Minister Chuasoto said in his opening remarks.

Chairman Bautista’s presentation focused on best practices and lessons learned from the May 2016 Philippine national elections.

“Unlike before wherein the Philippines was just learning from other countries with respect to how they conduct their elections, now the Philippines is also in the position to teach other countries how to conduct their elections,” Chairman Bautista said, providing a scorecard of COMELEC’s performance during the elections.

“Voter education campaign was very important for us. We endeavored to make sure that our Filipino voters were informed about the candidates and the issues that they advocated,” he further said as he underscored the importance of holding voter’s education forum and presidential and vice presidential debates.

Chairman Bautista also discussed the enhanced accuracy, security and transparency features of the Automated Election System such as improved result transmissions, voter receipt generation, data encryption, memory card use, and public ballot printing and tracking.

COMELEC likewise worked to have a more voter-centric election in terms of ensuring the comfort and convenience of the voter, providing needed assistance to persons with disabilities (PWD), senior citizens, and detainee voters.

There were also significant improvements in election services such as the increased number of accessible polling places for PWDs and indigenous peoples, creation of legal assistance desks, medical assistance desks, and conduct of voter registration in malls.

The COMELEC Chairman emphasized the strength of improved technology, saying that “In so far as the Philippines is concerned, we have been able to show that technology really enhances the voting experience and what we’d really like to do is to continue to improve upon what we have done in 2010, 2013, and 2016.”

“Hopefully, other countries will look to the Philippines as a model with respect to how to conduct elections,” Chairman Bautista concluded.

Prior to the Talakayan, the Philippine Embassy also held a dialogue with Chairman Bautista on the lessons learned from the conduct of overseas voting in May 2016. ###

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-0172-2016
14 November 2016

COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista presented the best practices and lessons learned from the Philippine national elections held in May 2016 in a special edition of the Embassy’s Talakayan sa Pasuguan on 10 November 2016.

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-0173-2016
14 November 2016

Chairman Andres Bautista with Philippine Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto, after the Talakayan sa Pasuguan on 10 November 2016.