PPCRV non-partisan but 'never neutral,' says founding chair

Asia's Tech News Daily

Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) founding chairperson Henrietta de Villa on Tuesday said the poll watchdog will remain non-partisan but “never neutral.”

De Villa made the statement in a speech following a Mass marking the PPCRV’s 30th anniversary at the Diocesan Shrine of St. Martha in Pateros.

The Mass was officiated by Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, incoming vice president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), who in his homily warned the public against “paid trolls” spreading “fake news” on the internet ahead of the 2022 automated elections.

“Do not be afraid. Bukod sa mga karahasang kalimitang nagaganap tuwing eleksyon, nahaharap tayo sa karahasang dulot ng fake news sa social media na gawa ng mga bayarang trolls na puwedeng makaimpluwensiya sa ating boto at sa dapat totoong boto ng mamamayang Pilipino,” he said.

(Aside from election-related violence, we are also facing violence caused by fake news on social media being spread by paid trolls to influence votes.)

A report by GMA News’ Katrina Son on Unang Balita on Wednesday said the PPCRV is set to kickstart its nationwide voter education in November.

“I’m calling on all the first-time voters, please participate, study, discern, magdasal tayo na tama ang ating pipiliin sa 2022 [and pray that we’ll pick the right candidate in 2022]” said Myla Villanueva, PPCRV chairperson.

The poll watchdog admitted that the 2022 elections will not be ordinary due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At present, it said it is focusing on the technical aspects of the automated polls to avoid the seven-hour delay that marred the previous election.

“We’re working with the Comelec (Commission on Elections) and with other NGOs (non-government organizations) to figure out… how do we speed up the voting process and also how do you take out the steps that delay people or create chokepoints,” Villanueva said.

Dr. William Yu, a PPCRV trustee and member of its IT committee, said a measure that the poll watchdog is looking at is the source code review.

“The second thing that we are going to do is basically we’re going to subject the system to a stress test because the hypotheses we had the reason why the seven-hour delay occurred is because the amount of volume of the data came too quickly for the system to handle,” Yu said. —KBK, GMA News

This article PPCRV non-partisan but ‘never neutral,’ says founding chair was originally published in GMA News Online.

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