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I have been a poll-watcher for as long as I can remember, bearing witness to violence and brownouts, while manually counting taras. I’ve also heard of first-hand accounts of canvass and count manipulation and ballot box disappearances at the precinct levels. This was all due to the manual process and the sheer amount of time it took
to count and canvass our votes. For the youth who cannot remember, in a manual election system, the process took about two weeks to a month from vote to proclamation.
It was in November of 1996 that I saw firsthand an automated Presidential election unfold. Bill Clinton and Al Gore were running for re-election that evening. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to their Command Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Here, I witnessed how a most open democracy cast their votes, count their votes and called the winners all within an evening in a very peaceful transition of power. Most importantly, there is trust that
the results represent the will of the people. I was in awe and hoped for the same peaceful and credible system for our country, by then a full-fledged democracy.
For those who don’t know me, I have founded five technology start-ups and have been in the technology industry for more than 30 years now. I schooled in the Jesuit tradition, in Santa Clara University in California, the center of Silicon Valley. It was there that the Jesuit values of Magis; doing more, striving for excellence and living a bigger story, and Women and Men for Others; that of sharing skills and having concern for the poor and marginalized, Forming and Educating Agents of Change; reflecting critical thought and responsible action on moral and ethical issues, was ingrained in me as a young student. Upon graduating in 1988, I got on a plane and came back to our young democracy at age 21, ready to do more. I now have two beautiful children, about the same age as when I started. My eldest is in the field of Artificial Intelligence, and my youngest is in the field of Film Studies. I am the CEO of one of the country’s leading systems integrators in technology; helping large corporations in their digital transformations. I mentor young people as much as I can, young technologists in my sphere, and young entrepreneurs, in my work as trustee for GoNegosyo.
I also champion a movement against single-use plastics in my work as a trustee of WWF, to protect the next generation and our environment.
My work in digital transformation led me to seek out the most credible citizens movement when our own electoral system was transforming from manual to automated in 2010. It was then that I found the PPCRV. I spent a whole afternoon with Chairperson Tita De Villa where my respect for her and the organization deepened. I cannot imagine a role more “mission impossible” than that of the PPCRV Chair. It is not an easy task to serve half a million lay volunteers, the clergy, and the nation. It is not easy balancing their aspirations, needs, and amazing goodwill. There is also navigating the COMELEC’s accreditation and regulatory process. There is the getting to know and reaching out to our dear Bishops and their diocesan communities. There is listening to the feedback, both negative and positive, of political personalities and parties. There is dealing with social and traditional media. There is the constant awareness and discipline that one must be non-partisan during the election cycle. Is there a job any more complex? Is there also a movement more beautiful with its lay volunteers and a church community bound together by Love of God and Love of Country in its purest form?
REJOICE! The Easter season tells us because CHRIST LIVES! For the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the just concluded National and Local Elections 2019 moves us to REJOICE because PPCRV LIVES! CHRIST, its CHAMP, has again boosted our hope with a glimpse of a Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful Elections last May 13, 2019.
Why do I say this? Three important reasons:
1. Inspired participation of PPCRV’s new leadership
The new PPCRV leadership headed by Myla Villanueva, assisted by Executive Director Maribel Buenaobra and new Board of Trustees: John Victor de Dios, Christian Robert Lim, Henry Aguda, and Abp. Rolando Tria Tirona, treasurer Tess Curia, and new spokesperson Agnes Gervacio, put up a machinery within six months that went beyond expectation. This animated the support of PPCRV’s old guards like Fr. Dave, Arwin, Johnny, Jun, Paolo, Rene, and Moi, as well as the PPCRV Diocesan Coordinators nationwide and our cherished bishops.
2. Progressive IT participation of PPCRV Directors
New methods in the use of technology enhanced and migrated the PPCRV three-fold mandate onto cloud domain. For Voters Education and Poll Patching, Paolo Domondon and his team re- formulated PPCRV’s One Good Vote
for online usage. The Unofficial Parallel Count by PPCRV was sharpened to new formats of accuracy by our IT experts, Rommel Bernardo and William Yu. Proof of these are shown in the graphs and analyses printed in this magazine. One big factor for the transparency of NLE 2019 was the IT group’s accurate and timely reading of the audit logs from the COMELEC Transparency Server that somehow calmed the anxiety brought on by the now famous
3. Dynamic participation of Youth Volunteers
While volunteerism has always been an icon of PPCRV service, this time around the youth came marching in. To elicit new fervor among the young, a novel idea of naming PPCRV Youth Ambassadors who excel in their chosen specialized fields (i.e. sports, social media, academics, etc.) and who influence a formidable following in youth communities promoted the importance of participating in PPCRV. Their call to the young Filipinos to express love for God and country through pro-active participation in NLE 2019 coincided with the celebration of 2019 as the “Year of the Youth,” and its theme highlighting the youth as “Beloved, Gifted, Empowered.”
The AES (Automated Election System) ushered in solutions to some gargantuan problems in our electoral process. Definitely there was a wipe- out of retail and wholesale “dagdag- bawas.” But other corruptive practices continue to escalate like vote buying and selling. Technology can accelerate transformation, but transformation is a process of buildups, punctuated
by breakthroughs made possible through disciplined participation of the citizenry. In this, I pray for a disciplined people through the new Filipino voter; disciplined thought through a new responsible way of choosing candidates; disciplined action through unconditional and uncompromised participation in the electoral process.
My vision and dream when I organized the PPCRV in 1991 remains the same – a transformed political system that works
for the common good through elections that are efficient tools of authentic democracy; a Church of the Poor and for the Poor wherein the poor are the subjects and the agents of change;
and Youth who serve as the mirror of freedom and liberation of our nation.
The youthful leadership in PPCRV and the thousands of PPCRV Youth Volunteers rouse me to boldly declare (with a paraphrase of the Dominican theologian Yves Congar):
And now the youth have found their own place, they have found the voice to speak and act the Truth.
IT IS NOW THE TIME OF THE HEIRS.
To all who gave their very best as servants of PPCRV MARAMING SALAMAT PO!
May the God of Justice, Peace and Love always inspire and make fruitful the life and activities of PPCRV.
MABUHAY ang PPCRV! MABUHAY ang PILIPINAS!
+Rolando J. Tria Tirona,
OCD National Chaplain PPCRV
I encourage all our volunteers to constantly immerse in the life and deeds of our Lord Jesus by constantly listening to his words in the Scriptures and receiving Him in the Sacrament of the Eucharist which is the source and summit of our Christian life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324). For Jesus, age does not matter for what is most essential is the enthusiasm to discover Him who is “the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6).
Thank you very much to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) for constantly initiating programs that strengthen the values of faith and commitment especially among the youth. The Holy Father Pope Francis affirms that indeed, “we need projects that can strengthen [the youth] and impel them to encounter others, to engage in generous service, in mission.” (Christus Vivit, 30).
May the Lord constantly strengthen you to be instruments of hope and transformation.
Sincerely in the Lord Jesus,
Reynaldo G. Evangelista, DD
Bishop of Imus
Every citizen came out to be mindful of his right and his duty to promote the common good by using his vote. The Church praises and esteems those who devote themselves to the public good for the service of men and take upon themselves the burdens of public office (Gaudium et Spes 75). Through the PPCRV’s campaign for a Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful Elections (CHAMP), the Filipino Church upholds this right and even facilitates in the process of “communal discernment” so that people might be guided to choose candidates who are persons of integrity, competent and committed to uplift the conditions of our people and with a deep passion for the common good.
It is my fervent hope that PPCRV will continue its mission to help accentuate our sense of fidelity to God so that our achievement will come into fruition as promised by Christ: “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (Jn. 15:16).
May God fill you with His choicest blessings. More power!
Alberto S. Uy, D.D.
Bishop of Tagbilaran
The mission of PPCRV, what it has accomplished all these years and the strong sense of self-giving continue to inspire me. If there is one opportunity when our lay people are actually engaged in politics, it is taking part
in ensuring Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful Elections. These are special times when our parish pastoral councils and our lay people, in hundreds of different parishes and dioceses all over the country, work together in unison for the good of the country and our local communities. When else do we see such a phenomenon?
Congratulations and thank you to PPCRV for having been such an instrument and opportunity for our lay
to be actively involved and contribute concretely to nation building especially during times of election. With PPCRV, love for country goes beyond mere aspiration or slogan.
On this Year of the Youth, I pray that the Lord will continue to bless and strengthen PPCRV, its leadership and all its volunteers so that their enthusiasm, courage, love for the Filipino people never wane but grow all the more. It is likewise my prayer that PPCRV continue to be a ray of hope for our nation.
May God bless the Youth and PPCRV!
+Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, D.D.
Bishop of Daet
PPCRV facilitated the venue in the last mid-term National and Local Elections so that the CHALLENGE of the Holy Father for the young people to be the NOW OF GOD was given flesh. The young people as the NOW OF GOD together with their elders in the Archdiocese of Jaro participated very actively and fruitfully from voters’ education up to the collection of the last Election Returns. We take note with pride that for the first time our PPCRV in the Archdiocese of Jaro was able to collect all of the election returns.
To all volunteers of PPCRV all over
the country I extend my warmest congratulations for a job well done. Indeed, once again, we have done our humble part to the best of what we can do to make this year’s election truly Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful (CHAMP).
Let us never forget that our real CHAMP is Jesus. To Jesus be the glory!
+Jose Romeo O. Lazo
Archbishop of Jaro
The students from our various AMA schools who have participated in the May 2019 midterm and prior elections have told us that the experience has been very fulfilling and has given them a genuine appreciation and better understanding of the democratic process and why they need to cast their vote. Mabuhay and more power to PPCRV and to all of you who do things out of love for God and country.
It is with this awareness of your contributions that I express my gratitude and admiration to everyone at the PPRCV – and to each and every person who volunteered to help secure our elections. Some people say that the time for Filipino heroes is long gone, but I think they are mistaken. I think we have more Filipino heroes today than ever before, and that includes all of you who have gone the extra mile to do your part in the grand task of building this nation. You can be rest assured that we will always support the cause for which you work, as well as the heroism you’ve always displayed.