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As part of CUPE’s initiative to build solidarity with workers in the Philippines through the global justice project initiated by CUPE local 4600, CUPE will participate in an international election monitoring mission.  Priscillia Lefebvre, of CUPE local 4600 in Ottawa will participate as an observer during the elections in the Philippines.  Lefebvre, along with Member of Parliament Don Davies, and 21 other Canadians (representing churches, unions, academics and lawyers) are preparing to head to the Philippines for the country’s upcoming presidential elections.

The vote is scheduled for May 10, 2010.  Elections will be held for the office of National President as well as municipal and local offices.   In total 17,000 officials will be elected.

This election marks the end of the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  Arroyo’s nine years in power have been marked by hundreds of politically motivated killings and enforced disappearances.  The April 2008 Report of the United Nations-Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions by Philip Alston revealed a climate of impunity for those guilty of these crimes.
The People’s International Observers Mission (PIOM) will monitor and investigate electoral fraud and violence, particularly since this is the first nationwide automated election in the Philippines. The goal is to ensure that voters are protected and free to vote according to their conscience and that democratic processes are respected.

Civil society groups in the Philippines helped organize the international observers’ mission including churches, human rights advocates, lawyers and other non-governmental organizations.