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Filipino groups in Qatar take pledge for safe, fair campaign for May 2022 national polls

Leaders of various Filipino community groups in Qatar representing political parties and candidates running in the Philippines’ national and local elections on May 9, have signed a ‘Clean Elections Covenant’ during a meeting held recently.
The covenant, which was described as an “unprecedented milestone,” aims to ensure safe and fair campaigning and conduct of elections in Qatar, which is home to more than 200,000 Filipino migrant workers, of which, some 46,000 are registered overseas absentee voters (OAV).

The signing ceremony was organised by the Middle East-based Reformed OFW Initiative (ROI) movement. Philippine House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda delivered a recorded video message during the event.
The group emphasised the need to refrain from negative campaigning, and the safe conduct of activities amongst Filipino community members under existing laws in Qatar. It also called to support the Philippine embassy, Doha during the month-long voting process from April 10.
In her speech, Legarda underscored the importance of a clean, honest, accurate, and meaningful campaign season, as well as for fair elections for OFWs in the Middle East. She thanked them for their dedication, sacrifices, and contribution to the Philippine economy.
Legarda also inspired the attendees on the milestones of the recent enactment of Republic Act 11641, which establishes the Department of Migrant Workers to include other relevant laws enhancing the welfare of OFWs and the expansion of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The veteran lawmaker and noted environmentalist also emphasised the importance of “determining the highest ideals of both campaigners and voters in choosing the right candidates in a post-pandemic era and to ensure clean elections by avoiding campaign and election waste.”
The signatories during the signing ceremony represented the following presidential candidates: Manila mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno of the Aksyon Demokratiko Party, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, and incumbent vice president Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo aligned with the Liberal Party.
Also present were signatories from the ruling administration party PDP Laban representing vice presidential candidate, Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte, and senatorial candidates Robin Padila and Astra Pimentel. Representatives from active party list candidates AKO OFW, Magdalo, and Migrante were also in attendance.
Dale Allado, the only ROI lead convenor who remains non-partisan, read the seven-point covenant, while other convenors, Mary Jill Lluz, reminded all attendees to always adhere to health and safety protocols. Joseph Timothy Rivera encouraged all supporters present to be mindful of the embassy’s election schedule.
The Clean Elections Covenant will be handed over soon to Philippine embassy, Doha officials sitting as the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) Special Board of Election Inspectors.

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