On 6 May 2014, the Commission will resume the Continuing System of Registration, preparatory to the National and Local Elections of 2016. Apart from rising to the challenge of processing close to three million new voters, the Commission must also ensure that more than 9 million registered voters are informed that they need to submit themselves for biometric capture lest they be disenfranchised in 2016. However, beyond merely delivering information, the Commission must also take steps to mobilize these vulnerable voters, i.e., actually get them to the registration centers where their biometric information can be captured.
And the Commission only has 17 months to do it.
For this reason, it is essential that a public event be staged that will:
a) Effectively capture the imagination of the population such that the information regarding registration and validation is more widely disseminated;
b) Inspire citizens – both unregistered and registered voters alike – to see to their civic responsibilities within the 17-month registration period; and
c) Encourage other organizations and institutions to band together with the COMELEC in the campaign to ensure clean, flying voter-free, elections in 2016.
This is exactly what WALKAH WALKAH hopes to achieve.
In brief, WALKAH WALKAH is an undertaking to traverse the length of the island of Luzon, on foot. Along the way, the Walking Team (which I will be heading), will go through towns, municipalities, and cities – crossing Regions, in fact – and conduct community engagements that will educate citizens about their right to vote, as well as deliver critical information necessary for them to register and submit for biometrics capture.
There will be three major activities:
A major public event, to be held at the City of Laoag, both to signal the start of the 2014-2015 Voter Registration / Validation period and to formally launch WALKAH WALKAH.
The Step-Off event, which will be graced by Chairman Sixto Brillantes, will have the following main features:
1) BIOMETRICS CLINIC – wherein local COMELEC officials conduct brief lectures on the following matters:
a) How Biometrics are Used to Ensure Clean and Honest Elections;
b) How Biometrics are Captured / How Biometrics are processed by the Automated Fingerprint Identification System
2) FORMAL OPENING OF THE 2014-2015 VOTER REGISTRATION/VALIDATION PERiOD – wherein the Chairman delivers an inspirational message and formally declares the start of voter registration/validation;
3) FIRST REGISTRANT / FIRST VALIDATION – wherein local COMELEC officials demonstrate the process of registration and validation for members of the media;
4) WALKAH WALKAH WEBSITE LAUNCH
5) STEP-OFF – wherein the Chairman (and from remote points, the other Commissioners) sends off the Walking Team on the first leg of WW.
In Capas, Tarlac, there will be an Aeta Voter Registration/Validation event that will focus on delivering voter education and information to indigenous peoples – one of the vulnerable sectors identified by the Commission on Human Rights.
This event, which will be graced by Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia, will primarily feature a Biometrics Clinic.
The conclusion of the first leg of WALKAH WALKAH, the Kilometer Zero event will take place at the Kilometer Zero Marker in Manila and will spotlight persons with disabilities (PWDs).
This event, tentatively schedule for June 1, 2014, will have the following features:
1) It will be preceded by a walk by the COMELEC en banc from the Palacio del Gobernador, after the WALKAH WALKAH walking team’s courtesy call;
2) A brief program where the Chairman will receive tokens from the walking team and declare the first leg of the Project successfully completed;
3) A biometrics clinic
4) Registration of PWDs and their assistors.
Apart from these three main events, there will be numerous community engagements along the way:
· Vigan, Ilocos Sur;
· Candon, Ilocos Sur;
· San Fernando, La Union;
· Urdaneta, Pangasinan;
· Capas, Tarlac;
· San Fernando, Pampanga; and
· Malolos, Bulacan
The walking team – in coordination with local COMELEC authorities – will conduct the following activities:
1) Salubong – Where a contingent from the community awaits the arrival of the Team beyond the town limits and joins the walk to the town center or the venue of the Community Engagement
2) Voter Education talk – a 15-minute, interactive lecture where the members of the Team emphasize the importance of validation and registration. Local COMELEC officials will ensure presence of registrants;
3) Deputization of Community Education Partners – a 5 minute ceremony, conferring on 5-10 youth members of the community the title of “Batang COMELEC,” and tasking them with being community education partners. Each group of Batang COMELEC will be given a ceremonial yellow ballot box, containing voter education materials.
WALKAH WALKAH is a good cause and we are asking for your help to ensure its success.
Come. Walk with us.