A voluntary election watchdog recently urged voters to turn the upcoming May elections into an “accountability process, where candidates have to be made answerable for their performance or lack thereof.”

Government Watch (G-Watch), in a statement, emphasized the need to elect officials who will “restore checks and balances in government, strengthen accountability institutions, uphold merit-based public management, and support independent civil society monitoring and advocacy.”

The G-Watch statement on the May polls was adopted during a five-day national meeting and learning exchange that was held in Pasig and Baguio City from March 4-8, 2022. Mayor Vico Sotto, a member of the G-Watch Executive Board, also attended the second day of the meeting and shared the experience of the Pasig City local government in fighting corruption.

One of these pressing problems is the spread of fake news. According to G-Watch accountability frontliner Gemar Barola, “since this is becoming an era of disinformation, accountability should be taken very seriously.” He appealed to the public to “demand for transparency and accountability from those who seek power by investing in education and fact-checking for truth and authentic news.”

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Gabriel Peralta of G-Watch-Quezon City underscored that a key lesson from the country’s experience with the pandemic is that, “we need leaders who are transparent and accountable.” His colleague Maribel Sumagay shares this sentiment, stating that, “Our nation deserves a president who is accountable and transparent to its people.”

Mickel Ollave of G-Watch-Puerto Princesa said the elections are a mechanism for choosing the best leaders. “Ang eleksyon ay isang epektibong pamamaraan para pagpanagutin, palitan ang mga tiwaling lider at panatilihin ang mga lider na matitino,” he said. (Elections are effective mechanisms to hold account and change corrupt officials and keep those who deliver.)

G-Watch, in its statement, offered a six-point agenda for the next administration, which includes:

  • Ensure access to relevant, useful, and clear information.
    Pass the Freedom of Information Law.
    Bolster transparency mechanisms and efforts.
    Ensure that feedback, complaint and grievance redress mechanisms properly work so that the concerns of citizens can be adequately addressed.
    Enhance the capacity of accountability institutions, mechanisms and programs inside government.
  • Ensure that the country’s legal framework remains supportive, facilitative, and enabling of progressive civil society, including independent citizen accountability efforts.
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