WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Metro DC Fil-Am community, together with Embassy personnel recently gathered at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy for a special edition of the “Talakayan sa Pasuguan” featuring Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista.
Bautista was in the US capital last week to observe and learn about the US electoral system under the US Election Program (USEP), which was hosted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).
Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto, the Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, recognized COMELEC’s support and assistance to Philippine Foreign Service Posts in enabling overseas Filipino voters to participate in the successful national elections held in May 2016, with a historic 81 percent voter turnout.
“We wish to express appreciation to the Commission and to Chairman Bautista, especially for their guidance and cooperation with respect to the conduct of the Overseas Voters’ Education Forum by the Embassy and Consulates General in the United States,” Minister Chuasoto said.
Bautista’s presentation focused on best practices and lessons learned from the May 2016 Philippine national elections.
“Unlike before wherein the Philippines was just learning from other countries with respect to how they conduct their elections, now the Philippines is also in the position to teach other countries how to conduct their elections,” according to Bautista providing a scorecard of COMELEC’s performance during the elections.
“Voter education campaign was very important for us. We endeavored to make sure that our Filipino voters were informed about the candidates and the issues that they advocated,” he further said as he underscored the importance of holding voter’s education forum and presidential and vice presidential debates.
Bautista also discussed the enhanced accuracy, security and transparency features of the Automated Election System such as improved result transmissions, voter receipt generation, data encryption, memory card use, and public ballot printing and tracking.
“Hopefully, other countries will look to the Philippines as a model with respect to how to conduct elections.”