Migrante sets up anti-fraud hotline

ANTIPOLO CITY, April 10, 2010—The largest alliance of migrant organizations in Asia, Migrante International, gears up for the conduct of the overseas absentee voting (OAV) today, 10 April 2010, by setting up its own anti-fraud and anti-disenfranchisement hotline in order to safeguard the migrant workers’ votes.

In an e-mail sent by Migrante International’s chairperson Garry Martinez, he said that their allies abroad, composed of more than 80 organizations in the Asia-Pacific, Mid-East, Europe and North America, will be on guard in order to ensure that nobody would be disenfranchised and no votes will not be counted due to electoral fraud.

“We doubt that the automated election system (AES) will completely eliminate fraud, that is why we are urging our compatriots in the world, to be observant and vigilant on any irregularities and attempts to cheat their votes; and immediately report it to us, using their mobile phones via cell phone number +63 922 682 4187,” Martinez said in his email.

This hotline, called as Migrante Watch, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the OAV finishes on May 9, he said.

OAV hotspots: Hong Kong and Singapore

Migrante said that they are keeping an eye on the conduct of the OAV in Hong Kong and Singapore, which serve as the laboratory for the Comelec’s AES abroad.

“Hong Kong and Singapore will be our testing ground if to prove that Comelec is indeed capable of holding orderly and credible automated polls, despite the already grave lapses in the preparations in the conduct of the polls,” he said.

Last April 6, there was a reassignment of precincts in HK, which caused confusion among voters there, Martinez said.

Moreover, Filipinos in the former British colonies have also been complaining about the lack of voters’ education, plus the alleged inadequate number of Precinct Optical Scan Machines (PCOS) deployed by the State poll body, to be used in the conduct of the AES there.

Migrante forewarns OFW re: Malacañang-backed migrants’ partylists

“We therefore urge our fellow OFWs to go out and cast their ballots, starting April 10. However, we must be careful on whom we vote so that we can be truly sure that only those candidates and party-lists that are truly advancing our interests, as migrant workers and our families’ interests, get elected,” Martinez said.

Martinez said that they have already identified two (2) pseudo-partylists that are trying to lure OFW votes: the Akbay Pinoy OFW Inc. (APOI) and KALAHI Sectoral Party, which Migrante believes had Palace’s ‘blessings.’

“It is obvious that these partylists are created by Malacañang, as their nominees are former government officials. APOI’s first nominee, Melchor Rosales, was an Interior and Local Government undersecretary and is a retired major general, while, KALAHI’s first nominee, Eleazar Quinto, is formerly the director-general of the Presidential Coalition Affairs Office and former Environment Undersecretary,” Martinez said.

“We must ensure that these partylists of Malacañang be off the race,” he added. (CBCPNews)