Call aired for synchronized ARMM polls

Posted at 05/17/11 12:15 AM

MARAWI CITY, Philippines - A movement calling for reforms in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has launched a campaign to highlight its call for synchronized elections in the region.

Salic Ibrahim, chairperson of Reform ARMM Now (RAN) Coalition, said the umbrella group, composed of some 300 civil society organizations, is supporting Senate Bill 2756 to synchronize ARMM elections with midterm elections in 2013.

"We invite you to 'go green with us.' We as  stakeholders of peace, inheritors of a centuries-old legacy of colonialism,  in defense of our homeland, affirm our right to self-determination," Ibrahim said in a press statement Monday.

The "green campaign" encourages people to wear green clothing and green ribbons on Facebook.

"We seek support and attention to our clamor for reform in the traumatized region that has experienced 3 all-out-wars, the Hello Garci and 12-0 scandal, [and the ] Maguindanao Massacre," Ibrahim said.

According to the RAN Coalition, synchronized elections would lessen vendetta and vote-manipulation, and open space for reforms.

"These values and concepts we feel are symbolic of what we all can share as a collective. This call for ARMM reform is not our Bangsamoro people's alone. It is of national interest if ARMM will live up to its full potential as a prosperous region still sadly wanting," Ibrahim added.

"We uphold the voice of the people to have genuine and meaningful democracy. To ensure this, there must be a vast introduction of electoral reforms to allow them to enjoy the free exercise of their right to suffrage. The results of the past ARMM elections have not been reflective or expressive to the popular will of the people through the sanctity of their ballots."

"The ground message that is clear. The vast majority of people in ARMM are in sync with the call for reforms and would be benefited by synchroinized polls to pave the way for reforms. These reforms can only be possible if a reform-oriented process and leadership is started."