A multi-sectoral elections watchdog promises to safeguard the May Philippine national elections – at least as far as overseas voting within Canada is concerned.
Koalisyon Kontra Daya (KKD) Canada is composed of representatives from various Canadian Filipino groups like Migrant, BAYAN Canada, Malaya Movement in Canada, Answering the Cry of the Poort (ANCOP) and coalitions including 1Sambayan Canada Chapter and Bayan Muna Partylist in Canada.
KKD Canada expressed concerns over the delay in the delivery of ballots from the Philippines to the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa and some consulate offices in Canada. The Philippine Embassy was the last to have received the ballots, mailing out election packets as late as April 19. Overseas voting officially started April 10.
Marissa Corpus, KKD Canada spokesperson, confirmed the need for an elections watchdog. “Establishing the KKD is necessary for Filipinos in Canada to ensure that our vote counts, that the proper electoral processes and safeguards are in place and that our voice is heard.” Corpus added, “We hope that our government officials will listen to our plea for honest elections.”
KKD Canada cautions against voter disenfranchisement resulting from the absence or lack of public information, weak information dissemination and inefficiency in overseas voting registration and voting process.
In order to facilitate reporting of fraud, irregularities and other election concerns, Canadian Filipino voters may submit reports to https://bit.ly/kkd-report.
BAYAN Canada chairperson Chris Sorio reported that this KKD Canada is not the first iteration of the coalition. “From the KKD Canada first formed in 2016, this is a welcome development. We now have an election watchdog from coast-to-coast that will be present in the consulates and embassy where votes will be tallied and canvassed.”
Bayan Muna Partylist in Canada spokesperson Orli Marcelino agreed, “Ang bawa’t boto ay sagrado sa bawa’t Pilipino. Karapat-dapat lang ang pagbabantay sa sagradong botohan na syang tunay na lakas ng bayan sa pagpili ng mga kinatawan para sa interest ng mamamayan.”
(Every vote is sacred to every Filipino. The sacred vote, in which lies the real power of the people in electing representatives for the interest of the nation, must be protected.)
KKD Canada is currently gathering reports of election fraud, irregularities, delays, and other concerns; engaging in dialogues with the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa and the Philippine Consulates General in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto; conducting voter education and outreach and observing election processes.