In this PCIJ roundtable held on September 18, 2023, election watchdog groups in the Philippines identify priority issues as three elections loom: the October 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, the May 2025 national elections, and the May 2025 BARMM elections.
The roundtable includes former Commission on Elections Commissioner Luie Guia, National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections chairperson Angel "Lito" Averia Jr., Legal Network for Truthful Elections executive director Rona Ann "Ona" Caritos, Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Antonio "Tony" Lubiao Jr., Democratic Insights Group co-chairperson Telibert Laoc, and Integrated Bar of the Philippines National Center for Legal Aid lawyers Myline Urmenita and Rico Ayson.
They discussed opportunities and challenges in the Commission on Elections' campaign against vote buying, the need to clamp down on abuse of state resources, and new challenges arising from new technologies.
They highlighted the need for transparency and the urgency of monitoring the procurement of new voting machines for the 2025 national elections. They flagged delays in the preparations for the first regular elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
They also proposed reforms to improve the conduct of elections in the country.