May 8, 2013—Blue Vote volunteers had their Orientation and Training program at around 1:30 in the afternoon in preparation for the May 2013 elections at the Finster Auditorium.
The event started with an opening remark by University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC) Chairman, Atty. Romeo Cabarde. He emphasized that the volunteers “will be the eyes and ears of the 2013 elections.”
The first session’s speaker, Fr. Kim Lachica, SJ, talked about the “E=Champ: Poll watching and Voter’s assistance.”
E=Champ is the Davao Association of Catholic Schools’ poll watching activity for the midterm elections. It works hand in hand with AdDU’s Blue Vote and is co-partnered with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL).
Fr. Lachica explained that the volunteers will be divided into three groups depending on the tasks assigned.
The first group will be composed of poll watchers who will be assigned to different precincts. The second group will be assigned in the Voters’ Assistance Desk and will assist voters, especially those with disabilities. They will also be the source of information for the Media. And the third group will be composed of roving poll watchers, who will be assigned to areas where volunteers are badly needed and will also help guard the PCOS machines. Unlike the poll watchers, who may end up being assigned to the nearest precinct, roving poll watchers will be assigned to places that are unfamiliar to them. Places like Marilog District.
Fr. Lachica also added other relevant matters for the poll watchers. He discussed the duties, rights and qualities of a watcher. He said that only two poll watchers would be assigned per polling place. They must be in the precinct in the most crucial times, from 6 am until it ends. Volunteers will only be allowed as poll watcher if they possess a NAMFREL ID or PPCRV ID. The IDs were distributed yesterday at the UCEAC office .
Region XI COMELEC Director, Wilfredo Jay Balisaldo, was the second speaker and talked about the “Common Issues and Election Day Rules and Regulations.” His talk included illegal voting, illegal acts, prohibitions in voting, preparations and a lot more. He also included in his talk what poll watchers can do in facing irregularities/problems from suspicious Board of Election Inspectors (BEI).
ABS-CBN Southern Mindanao News Head, Michelle Robin, followed Balisaldo and discussed on how volunteers can properly report any anomalies that might happen during the Election Day. These include basic camera shots, captioning, proper lighting and basic news reporting. They also told the volunteers to accommodate any media personnel that would approach their designated posts.
According to Cabarde, there are 421 volunteers in their record. These volunteers will be assigned to 471 voting places within the city. The training ended with the oath-taking ceremony of the 366 Blue Vote volunteers who attended.