The May 2022 synchronized election is upon us. Crucial as elections have always been in charting the course of our country, this election is seen to even be more critical because the varied political, economic, social and environmental issues confronting us now are touted to be of utmost urgency that render us running against time.
We asked persons of different perspectives and expertise as to what they think are the most critical issues with regards the environment and climate change, agriculture and food security, the peace process, and indigenous peoples' rights that should be put on the table so people can engage in active and extensive conversations to guide them in choosing the best candidates.
What issues should be discussed as people make their decision on whom to vote for?
The main issue that should be discussed is the right of the indigenous people to vote without intimidation, discrimination, and political opportunism.
The election period as the only opportunity for the community to voice their issues and concerns hoping that politicians can address the same.
The need to discuss the challenges in securing ancestral domains.
The lack of capacity of NCIP to respond to issues affecting indigenous peoples, such as the construction of dams inside ancestral territories, poor implementation of Free and Prior Informed Consent process, and ensuring the effective implementation of Indigenous Peoples' mandatory representation at the local level.
Indigenous communities' need to be aware of the issues , e.g., not to focus on the immediate benefits provided by politicians. They need to realize that exercising their right to vote is an important exercise both individually and collectively.
Why are these issues crucial/critical?
The disadvantaged situation of the IPs is being used as propaganda of politicians during election.
Politicians using community leaders as campaigners often brings negative impact on the social and cultural life of the ICCs.
Mobilizing Indigenous Peoples, e.g., transporting them in a designated place before the voting period.
Isolating the people to secure their votes.
Guarding the IPs while voting while voting.
IPs getting lured by false promises and vote buying.
The lack or inadequacy of the capacity to read and write of IPs.
Not all IPs are able to register as voters, thus, cannot exercise their right to suffrage.
What are the available channels for community dialogues?
The use of online/virtual platforms
Mobilizing Indigenous Peoples' Organizations and leaders
Jane Austria-Young and Melvin R. Guilleno
Sentrong Pagpapalakas ng Negrito
Kultura at Kalikasan
Talking Points for the 2022 Philippine Elections was first published in the December 2021 issue of The Mediator, the official magazine of MedNet.