The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and election watchdog Democracy Watch Philippines are set to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Friday to promote voter education among Filipino youths and first-time voters in the May 9 polls.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, in a statement Thursday, said the agreement will pave the way to the voter education campaign called Vote Right 2022! — a series of seminars and lectures to be conducted in partnership with various schools, universities, and non-government organizations nationwide using virtual platforms.

“We recognize that educating and empowering the youth sector on the right of suffrage is a collective duty that falls upon not just the Commission but the entire Filipino community — it really does take a village. Thus, we fully support initiatives that focus on young and first-time voters, because the numbers clearly show that they comprise a huge chunk of registered voters in the May 9 elections,” he added.

The Comelec has also committed to field resource persons for the various activities to be conducted.

Subject to pertinent data privacy laws, rules, and regulations, the poll body said DemWatch will also be given access to data necessary for the fulfillment of the objectives under the agreement.

“DemWatch was Comelec’s partner as early as in the 2016 elections and has extended significant assistance in our voter education programs. We hope to replicate our gains in the 2022 polls,” the poll body official said.

As a non-government poll watchdog, DemWatch in recent years has been a key resource organization in various congressional hearings of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Elections System (JCOC-AES), Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms of the House of Representatives, and Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation in the Senate.

The signing ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the Comelec Session Hall, 8th floor, Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila with acting chairperson Socorro Inting and Jimenez representing the poll body and Francesco Javier Pangalangan, lead convenor of Democracy Watch and convenors Lloyd Ian Zaragoza and Orlando Oxales. (PNA)

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