News: Group to select candidates for 2010 via “people’s primaries”

MB.com.ph: Inspired by the outcome of a community-based selection process in choosing candidates for national positions during the recent election in the United States, a multi-sector group is set to implement “The Primary System” aimed at reforming Philippine politics by giving equal chances of winning for non-traditional politicians versus traditional politicos in the May 2010 polls.

Ricky Xavier of the Movement for Good Governance (MGG) said during a forum at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) that they have started preparing since last December for what they call “The People’s Primaries,” a selection process that will encourage communities to identify and consider new leaders for next year’s electoral exercise.

“Today our political situation is similar to that of the United States when at the turn of the 20th Century they adopted the Primary System. At this stage of our history, we need to retool our democracy so we can fix our corrupt political system,” Xavier said.

“Things have changed, a greater majority of our voters are better informed of the issues, and the youth have access to more and better sources of information. While we do not have a two party system, there is a clear demarcation line been the “Trapo” and “Non-trapo” politicians in their political parties,” he said.

Xavier said they were inspired by the intentions of reform-oriented non-traditional personalities like Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio, Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca, environmentalist Nicky Perlas, rebel officer Army Brig. Gen Danilo Lim of eyeing elective posts to pursue changes in the country’s political system that has been dominated by a few oligarchs.

Several non-government organizations that included Subsidiarity Movement, Green Convergence, Partidong Pandaigdigan Pilipino, Magnificat Movement, Global Filipino Network, Movement for Hope and Jesus is Lord Movement participated in the “People’s Primaries” conference.

Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) along with philanthropist Gina Lopez of the ABS-CBN Foundation have expressed his support to the “People’s Primaries.”

According to Lawyer Philip Camara of the Magnificat Movement, the “People’s Primaries” is district-based involving one-person, one vote system that will be tallied through a computerized SMS-vote tallying system.

Using the existing 216 congressional districts all over the country, the “People’s Primaries” will organize district chapters in each of those areas for the implementation of the District Electoral Voting (DEV).

The People’s Primaries is aiming to mobilize at least 20 percent of the electorate per congressional district. In the DEV, one member, one vote is reconciled at the district level through the SMS with the corresponding control number issued by the National Facilitators Group (NFG) that will prevent possible fraud and manipulation.

The national winner in the People’s Primaries is the candidate with the highest electoral votes garnered.

The MGG expressed optimism that the People’s Primaries will be able to come up with a “People’s Dream Team” led by a single yet strong non-traditional candidate for the presidential post for the May 2010 polls before the deadline set by the Commission on Elections for the filing of candidacy for candidates on November this year.

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