Editorial: Election summit-A A +A
Friday, February 22, 2013
THE goal of the Summit on Credible Elections 2013 initiated by the Cebu Archdiocese is rather lofty: To “endeavor to forge maximum unity in embracing electoral advocacy and in implementing the needed concrete strategies for electoral reforms.” What that means and whether it can be implemented and how is an interesting topic of discussion.
This is not the first effort of the archdiocese to raise the level of people’s awareness on the need for credible elections.
Previous ones were done during the many polls that were held when the archdiocese was still headed by now Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. This is the first effort under Archbishop Jose Palma.
The summit will be handled by the archdiocese, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Education (DepEd) and aims to gather 1,000 participants that would include election officers, DepEd supervisors, youth leaders, the academe, policemen, media, local government officials, business leaders and members of religious-based communities.
That’s a wide range of sectors that play a role in the elections.
The problems with undertakings like this, however, are two-pronged: that whatever unity would be achieved in the gathering does not usually resonate to the rest of the sectors involved and the effort is never long-term. The point is that summits can only be effective if the raising of awareness relative to their goals is widespread and continuous.
Electoral advocacy should not only consume the summit participants but must also be embraced by a big number of people. Only through this can the summit achieve its other goal, which is is to implement “needed concrete strategies for electoral reforms.”
The reality as of the moment is that the contrary notion is blanketing the electoral process. The failure to implement reforms to straighten out the electoral setup has resulted in people holding on to the belief that there’s no way illegal and questionable election practices could be curbed so either one accept them as a given or, worse, indulge in them.
Again, the holding of the summit is admirable, but the question is, after that, what next? The activity can be like a spark that can start a fire, but won’t the material it consumes be like the proverbial cogon whose flames easily die out?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 23, 2013.