Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Namfrel pre-election assessment report

Access the full report at: http://bit.ly/1RYm2kl 

Assessment Summary

"At the time of this report there will be 35 days left to the May 9 presidential and general elections. If the current opinion polls hold, the elections for president and vice president may produce close results."

PEAM was pleased to hear that there is a good level of confidence in the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) among stakeholders. COMELEC has a particular challenge relating to the issuing of voters’ receipts. Voters want a sense of confidence that their votes will be counted as cast. Another issue relates to the timely and transparent reporting of vote totals. Swift and accurate reporting is essential, especially due to past experiences.

Free, fair, inclusive and credible elections depend also on a permissive environment, and we have heard concerns expressed about vote buying and private armed groups impeding access to polling centres.

In the event of close elections, it will be important for all stakeholders to respond in a measured way, and for COMELEC to be prepared to provide a clear narrative surrounding the conduct of the polls and the publication of results.

In addition to issues related to the present elections, this assessment also suggests a national dialogue concerning possible desynchronization of national and local elections, and the possibility of run-off elections to ensure future presidents and vice presidents have a strong mandate.

There is also work to be done to improve the access to their franchise of indigenous people, people with disabilities, and overseas Filipinos."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

(First) The true mandate of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)...

...is to hold competitive elections and create the environment for it.

All data from the Comelec except for gender, which were
determined based on the name. 
There are other measures but at its simplest, competitive elections mean that there is more than one candidate for an elective post. For the elections this May in the National Capital Region (NCR),  955 candidates are vying for 336 elective posts. 

These figures help explain how participative
 are the elections for local positions in the NCR.
This highly urbanized region and home to 6.25 million voters has 17 towns and cities.  It is broken down into 42 districts from which councilors are elected. A town or city has from two to six councilor districts depending on the population.  There are also 30 congressional districts within the NCR.

On voting day on May 9, voters in the NCR will choose one mayor and one vice-mayor, between six and eight councilors, and one member of congress or parliament.

Twenty-seven parties are competing in the NCR.

However, my take on competitiveness revolve around the data from  the table below.  Obviously, questions begged to be asked.

1.  Why are voters not presented with at least one other candidate to choose from?  Why did not parties compete?  Did the voters agree that no other candidate could represent them?

2.  What led candidates and voters to "capture" or game the system?
3.  What local political and electoral conditions could explain this situation?
4.  If at all, how might the cost of becoming a candidate or the cost of getting elected contribute in the explanation?
5.  What might prevent this situation from happening?

I will bring up more points in the upcoming posts, but for now a few future possible remedies:

1.  National parties should explain in writing to the voters, through the Comelec, why they could not field candidates in places where candidates are unopposed.  They should cite in detail the constraints they faced?
2.  In an unopposed situation, the candidate should at least get 50 percent of the valid votes in order to be elected.  If not, a re-election.

What's your take?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ballet Philippines’ ‘Opera’: Sculpture in dance

Published at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/554579/lifestyle/artandculture/ballet-philippines-opera-sculpture-in-dance

Published February 9, 2016 7:53pm By TELIBERT LAOC

When dance and contemporary art collide, the senses erupt.

Ballet Philippines is collaborating with several artists—kinetic sculptor Gabriel Barredo, choreographer Redha Benteifour, composer Malek Lopez and librettists Yvette Tan and Erwin Romulo—to create "Opera," a scripted assault on the senses. The production creates synergy between the artists and melds their art forms.  In their performance, the dancers shape and bodily express their unified visions.

Barredo pioneered kinetic (moving) sculpture in the Philippines and his art installations will integrate into the dance sets.  "Meeting Gabby and seeing his work up close is very inspiring," says the Algerian-French Benteifour, whose style draws inspiration from everyday life "where censorship is absent."

"Being part of this production is a great thrill," he said.

Dancers Victor Maguad and Erl Sorilla play Twins; Carissa Adea, Mother; Denise Parungao, Death; Jean Marc Cordero, The Watcher; and Earl John Arisola, The Creator.  With 16 others from the company, led by artistic director Paul Alexander Morales, they fulfill the promise of the artistic collaboration.

As an amateur photographer at the press conference on January 27 in one of the dance studios at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the shoot was quite challenging for me.  There was always something going on onstage—several "events" unfolded before the (stage) canvas.  You point your camera to one event with the knowledge that by doing so you will miss the others.

Like creation constantly happening in the universe, events are taking place seemingly independent of each other.  But "The Artist," "The Creator," may or may not reveal the complete complexity of His work.  In "Opera," Benteifour and Barredo may just reveal what their creation might be.

— BM, GMA News

These photos originally appeared on Telibert Laoc's website.