Youth Vote Philippines

BOTOmation: Facing the Challenge of Automated Polls

Posted on 06 March 2010.

Election in the Philippines is an integral part of democracy. Thus, the right to suffrage is an exercise that enables the people to choose the leaders who would govern and serve the best interest of the general public. Unfortunately, every election is tarnished with issues on dishonesty, violence, disenfranchisement of voters be it in the barangay, local or national level.

COMELEC believes that the Elections in May 2010 will be better, faster and more accurate. With the advent of computerized voting through the use of the Print Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine, votes will be easily counted and canvassed. Yet, the people remain cynical if not outright dubious, that an automated election could resolve problems on cheating and other related issues.

This is where Batangas State University (BSU) comes in to the picture. Through the initiative of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the BOTOmation Project which aims to educate voters on automated elections was pushed trhough. The project has the following components: trainers' training, voters' education, production and airing of radio plugs, radio forum among student-leaders, launching of BOTOmation campaign jingle and distribution of posters, leaflets and other materials.

To respond to the challenge of automated polls, a seminar on automated election and a forum on voter's rights were conducted on February 26, 2010 at the College of Accountancy, Business, Economics and International Hospitality Management (CABEIHM) bldg, GPB Campus I, Batangas City. This was participated by students, faculty members and staff from five (5) colleges in the University.

"The Philippines, in keeping with recent trends in technology, has opted for automated polls to hopefully achieve clean, honest and credible elections. To achieve this, you and I must learn how this new system works," said Professor Cynthia Q. Manalo, Dean, CAS and Project Leader of BOTOmation.

The speakers of the said activity included Mr. Jaime P. Garchitorena, former TV icon as well as present convener of Young Public Servants and front liner of Youth Vote Philippines. The other equally credible speaker was Ms. Mildred F. Ople, lead convener of Youth Vote Philippines. She also serves as Senior Development Associate of Youth Leadership Development Unit of Ayala Foundation. They talked about the roles of youth in this coming election. Mr. Garchitorena also tackled the Millennium Development Goals in relation to voting. And then, Ms. Ople discussed the voting process in May 2010.

A total of 600 participants from GPB Campus I attended the event. They involve themselves in the activity by participating in the open forum facilitated by Mr. Alvin R. de Silva, one of the faculty members of CAS.

On the other hand, BS Development Communication students who are enrolled in Broadcast-Based Distance Learning System for Radio and Television course also responded to the challenge of automated polls. A five-day radio forum dubbed ‘Eleksyon na, Handa ka na ba?' was initiated to further encourage student-leaders of BatSU to take part in the May 2010 elections. The forum which started to air over DWPB 107.3 FM from March 1- March 5, 2010 underscored the significant contribution of the youth in the triumph of free, honest and clean May 2010 elections. The said radio program was participated by students from the CAS, College of Teacher Education (CTE) and the College of Accountancy, Business, Economics and International Hospitality Management (CABEIHM).

Written by: Vaberlie P. Mandane
CAS Extension Service Coordinator