INDUSTRY SECTOR CALLS FOR CREDIBLE ELECTION
The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) has embarked on a new path. Aside from its anti-smuggling, environmental protection, promotion of employment and labor rights and fair market competition advocacies, the federation is now pushing for a credible election in 2016.
In his keynote address during the 2015 FPI General Membership Meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel last August 7, 2015, COMELEC Chairman Andres D. Bautista acknowledged the federation’s milestones in its advocacies, even as he praised the private sector, such as FPI, for seeking its role in helping pave the way for a credible election in 2016.
“There is nothing more encouraging than knowing that our private sector has invested in our democratic ideals as you are in your private businesses, because we know that a flourishing and stable democracy will ensure, not only individual success, but also collective gains. In other words, credible elections make good business.” Bautista said.
In underlining the role the business sector can do to help pave the way for an election that will truly reflect the will of the people, Bautista pointed out the Commission’s two pronged objectives for the 2016 elections. “First and foremost is the overriding goal of credibility. Second is the objective of enhancing the voting experience.” Bautista said
“Sa COMELEC and botanteang boss namin, at kami po ay naghahanap ng mga paraan para mapabuti at mapasaayos ang paraan ng pagboto.” (At the COMELEC the voter is our boss and we are finding ways to improve the voting process), Bautista stressed.
Bautista invited the business sector to assist the COMELEC in its voter awareness campaign, especially targeted at vulnerable sectors such as persons with disability, senior citizens, first time and youth voters.
The COMELEC Chair pointed out the commission’s public private partnership with mall owners which paved the way for the establishment of over 175 satellite COMELEC registration sites in malls all over the country. “Just like mall owners, other businesses may offer their facilities for free.” Bautista said, even as he also asked business owners to give time off for their employees to register and vote.
“The FPI can also assist the COMELEC in its plan to hold a series of presidential debates to elevate the level of public discourse related to the coming elections. We believe that these debates would strengthen democracy in several ways.” Bautista said.
According to Bautista the debates would assist voters in making informed choices during election day, encourage candidates to focus on substantive issues and public policies and provide a mechanism for exacting accountability among elected officials with regard to their campaign promises.
Bautista encouraged the business sector to come out and express its thoughts and feelings toward election, even as he cited the marked improvements in the concept of governance during the past five (5) years.
“It has been a common attitude of business to stay at a safe distance away from government. Sometimes I cannot blame you. After all, who would want to expose themselves to regulators more than what is required as in the past, some government personnel would come to you with sinister or under the table agenda.” Bautista said. “Aren’t we glad that we are now enjoying an improved concept of governance today where everyone’s voice is considered and heard to arrive at the best solutions to our present day dilemmas.”
“In the case of COMELEC, we believe that the people’s right to suffrage is the fundamental expression of empowerment and the very soul of democracy. The business sector is an enabler of, and partner for good governance which in turn is the driving force of our democratic ideals.” Bautista said.
“On May 9, 2016, together, we shall choose our next set of servant leaders, when the last ballot is cast, that date will only be but one marker in the story of our democracy. One which we will continue to tell by our own actions and decisions that contribute toward building this nation. Ours is the humble and humbling task of making sure that all of you are able to participate in this process. Your duty is to vote right, ours is the responsibility to count right.” The COMELEC Chair added.
In closing, Bautista paraphrased an A .L. Williams quotation which says “All you can do, is all you can do. Hopefully, all we can do is enough.”