MANILA – The Commission on Elections has won two awards from an international electoral awards-giving body, validating the work the Comelec and its stakeholders has done in the May 2016 elections.
“We’re very pleased to announced that the Comelec won two major awards—that’s the Electoral Commission of the Year, as well as the Election Management Award for our efforts in the May 2016 elections,” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista announced during a press briefing Thursday morning.
Bautista likened the awards given by the International Center for Parliamentary Studies to the prestigious Academy Awards for the filmmaking industry.
“This is like the Oscar awards for election management bodies,” he said.
For the Election Commission of the Year Award, the Comelec bested Elections Canada, The Central Elections Commission of Palestine, and the Election Commission of Georgia--the other finalists for the spot.
“The awards committee took into account the diversity of challenges, as well as the duties and organization structures,” Bautista said.
As for the Election Management Award, the Philippines’ poll body won over the National Electoral Institute of Mexico and the Electoral Commission of South Africa.
“The award recognizes the successful management of elections seen through a secure, transparent and smooth running elections,” he said.
Aside from the two major awards, the Comelec also bagged the Accessibility Award and the Minority Participation Award.
Bautista said the Accessibility award recognizes the initiatives by EMBs who made extensive efforts to bring back the electoral process to groups within the society who have been excluded due to physical, social or geographical impediments.
“I think they recognize our efforts in respect of the senior citizens and persons with disability,” he said.
In winning the Minority Participation Award, Bautista believes the poll body’s Mangyan project impressed the awards committee.
“We were able to set up polling centers where the Mangyans live in Mindoro and because of this, there was a 90 percent voters’ turnout,” he said.
Bautista said being nominated “was already an honor”, but actually winning is “a great honor.”
“To everyone who shared in this humble and humbling task of ensuring credible and inclusive elections we can’t thank you enough,” he said.
The Comelec was represented by spokesperson James Jimenez during the awards night.
The International Electoral Awards 2016 which seek to recognize all outstanding achievements in the field of election administration around the world was held after the ICPS symposium in Maputo, Mozambique.