LABOR groups from all over the country on Monday forged an alliance for a clean and honest May automated polls.

The project, named the Workers' Electoral Watch (We-Watch), is spearheaded by a non-government organization advocating the empowerment of workers called the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (Eiler).

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

The group is backed by the European Union. It is also working hand-in-hand with the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente).

More than 50 union leaders, labor advocates, and church-based organizations have united to safeguard 34 million workers from fraud and possible disenfranchisement, said We-Watch in a press statement.

Labor groups that have pledged their support to the project include those from the pharmaceutical, banking, and communications industries and advocates from the formal and informal sectors.

Eiler lead convener Joselito Natividad said that many workers believe the Automated Election System (AES) will not completely eliminate electoral fraud.

Natividad told Sun.Star that the group aims to educate working voters through its voter education campaign.

"All those belonging to the network of the We-Watch will be able to join our voters' education. They will learn how to vote, and how to safeguard the votes," said Natividad.

“We need to teach them how to vote so that worker votes will not be disenfranchised," added the group's leader.

We-Watch has set-up a 24-hour text hotline through which the public may report incidents of fraud and other irregularities in the conduct of the elections.

The SMS-based reports, said Natividad, will be routed to a centralized databank and will later serve as a basis for policy recommendations and advocacy measures on the Philippines' adoption of the AES.

Citizens may text the following numbers for their report: for Smart subscribers - 0929-3361581; for Globe – 0915-6701434; and for Sun Cellular – 0923-5320142.

The We-Watch project will cover 12 cities and industrial centers all over the country, namely Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Metro Baguio, Subic (Olongapo City), Cavite City, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Bacolod City, and Iloilo City. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)