My experience as PPCRV-NDMU Volunteer…Jing Ureta

Let me share my experience on the 2010 election.  Funny how i use to tell everyone  that I have always been apolitical.  Being an election watchdog was never my cup of tea much more campaign for someone else.    Well,  my online friends have heckled me to join a group to support a particular presidential  candidate whom others says is our hope for change.  However,  i always have reasons to refuse.  I guess all  I wanted to see is that  the Philippines move out of its labyrinth of patronage politics.   Until now you can see how Politicians has mastered the art of persuasion. Well in fairness  we have good ones whose heart is to really served the country but  there are those bad eggs that you can really smell from the distance.   This year though is the Philippines first automated election and to be part of it means so much more.  The  change of heart comes from the fact that automated election is going to be tried on the 2010 election.  Its  success would mean moving forward to a better Philippines and failure would mean going back to the dark age of manual counting , of dag dag bawas.

Responding to the challenges  of the times, NDMU being part of  Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has accepted to be  part of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible  Voting (PPCRV).  The coverage area for the University  were  the following:  Koronadal, Tupi, Tampakan, Surallah, Lake Sebu, Tantangan,Norala, Banga anf T’boli.    PPCRV  is the only election watchdog accredited by the COMELEC  to   get a  copy of the election return.  NDMU personnel and students volunteered to be part of this huge undertaking.  Weird but i have this strange feeling of excitement and wanting to do more for my country. I guess everyone  who volunteered  that day  have the same feelings as well.

My husband and I were both assigned as Municipal Coordinator for PPCRV in Tampakan, my husbands hometown.  Two days before election were were rounding up volunteers who wanted  to take part even if it means getting a very small allowance for food.  We gave them their Tshirts and PPCRV IDs and everyone was eager and excited to get started.

May 10, Election Day!

We were monitoring  the polling places from the town of Tampakan  to the barrio of Maltana and Kipalbig then up to the mountain part  part of Lampitak, Liberty, Lambayong and San Isidro.  It was raining very hard yet  you could see people lining up to cast their votes.  Some PICOS machines were not working and had to wait for the technician to fix the problem. Despite this the people stood outside and waited until 9 in the evening.  The long line was due to the clustered precinct.     We were teasing some people we knew “hoy puli na kay  gab-i na hindi na kamo  makaboto”..(go home its getting late  you can no longer vote) we were surprise to hear them say..”dugay kami hulat sa pila hindi gid kami mapuli sayang ang boto namon.” (We have waited in the line and we will not go home. We will not waste our votes).

When votes were ready to be transmitted all poll watchers  stood and watch.  In all honestly my heart was beating so fast and i was trying to control my tears when i saw how fast the votes were transmitted.  For the first time no teachers were manually counting the votes!  Never before…  Some people think that the automation can be rigged ..maybe so.  But   i dare them say that the manual counting is much better and can not be rigged at all.  What a shame really!

For all its worth my spending the whole day at the various poll sites gave me more reason to be proud of what everyone has accomplished on election day.  It will be remembered and i can  say with conviction that i was part of the history of Philippines automated election.  God Bless us all.