Montreal-based journalist and community organizer Stefan Christoff shares his experiences as an election observer in the Philippines in May of this year.
We learn about a full range of irregularities and examples of corruption that occurred on election day, as witnessed by members of the People's International Observer's Mission. Incidents such as election-related killings, bribes taking advantage of working-poor people's desperation, brute military intimidation near and at election precincts, and the dubious introduction of voting machines by foreign multi-national corporation Smartmatic are some of the issues discussed.
This piece shows that Philippines elections have been, and continue to be, far from clean, democratic, and peaceful. They're definitely not in the best interest of the working-class people in the Philippines, the majority of whose citizens live below the poverty line.
What will help victims of state repression heal and stave off these horrific cyclic realities? Stefan talks about strengthening our critical thinking powers, progressive activism, and working with social movements.
* In 2009, the advocacy group Committee to Protect Journalists declared the Philippines to be the world's most dangerous country for journalists. That same year, in a survey by the International Trade Union Confederation, the Philippines was ranked at No. 1 in Asia and No. 3 in the world for the number of trade unionists killed in 2009. The Philippines has topped these lists for several years now.
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