The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) has deployed 41 international observers from 14 countries to observe the Philippines election, which is scheduled for the May 10, 2010. ANFREL believes that the upcoming General Elections could be a new chapter of clean and credible elections for the country and an admirable initiative for the Asian people towards ensuring freedom of elections in the region.
ANFREL appreciates the endeavour undertaken by the civil society groups and the media regarding civic and voter education campaigns to encourage all the eligible voters to be acquainted with the new Automated Election System (AES) and duly exercise their franchise in the upcoming elections.
The unabated acts of threat and intimidation to voters and candidates will undermine the sanctity of the elections and a prime time in the Philippines' democratic advancement. We hope that the government and the concerned authorities will leave no stone unturned to create a conductive atmosphere for free, fair and peaceful elections by curbing potential incidences of violence and other election related irregularities across the country with zero tolerance of impunity. We also urge the political parties and the candidates to redouble their efforts to fully respect the relevant election laws, regulations and code of conduct during the campaign and beyond.
Even though the Philippines is the first country in South East Asia to attempt a synchronised nationwide election using an automated machine, ANFREL believes that the testing and performance of the Precint Count Optical Scan (PCOS) should be more transparent to ensure public confidence of the machine. ANFREL expects that other electoral concerns will be taken into account i.e. strict maintenance of law and order, ensuring the secrecy of voters and the prevention of election related irregularities such as underage voting, vote buying, rigging and campaigning during cooling hour and the polling day.
The ANFREL observation mission will be led by Mr. Hassan Ariff from Bangladesh together with Mr. Koul Panha from Cambodia and Dr. Gopal Krishna Siwakoti from Nepal.
Established in 1997, as Asia's first regional network of civil society organizations, ANFREL strives to promote and support democratization process at national and regional levels in Asia. From its very inception, ANFREL has concentrated all its strength on supporting the process of democratization in different parts of Asia.