Two UCC clergy are joining an ecumenical team serving as international monitors for the national elections in the Philippines scheduled for May 10. The Rev Kathryn Schreiber, pastor of the United Church of Hayward, CA and the Rev Kathy Fox from Cosmopolitan UCC in Carrollton, TX are each holding "Solidarity Sunday" on May 2 in order to commission their service.
The People's International Observers Mission 2010 (PIOM) has an alliance with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Due to electronic voting machines this year, fears are the election results may be tampered with after votes are cast. In the past votes have been openly bought and violence used to intimidate "Party List" candidates and their supporters. Human rights groups have documented severe abuses, abduction, torture and killings of civilian leaders by the military and private militias. The U.S. contributes significant military and other aid to the Philippines. American presence on teams helps increase security and fairness because the Filipino government wants to maintain good U.S. relations.
Take action to press for U.S. efforts to strengthen human rights in the Philippines during this election year.
PIOM observers will file reports with the Philippines Election Commission and with the UN body that monitors elections. They will also share their first-hand experience with U.S. Congressional leaders upon their return.
Those interested can follow the ecumenical team of monitors on Facebook at "Philippine Election Observation Team."
Elections 2010:A Guide for Politics of Change and Meaningful Elections is a guide prepared by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines for theological reflection on the elections.
Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation
2009 U.S. State Department Human Rights Report: Philippines
Asia-Pacific Forum Statement Condemning the November 23, 2009 Massacre in Maguindanao, Philippines, December 15, 2009
Let the Stones Cry Out: An Ecumenical Report on Human Rights in the Philippines and a Call to Action
Philippines: Candidates Should Propose Plans to End Killings, April 15, 2010, Human Rights Watch
Philippines: Protect Witnesses to Maguindanao Massacre, March 8, 2010, Human Rights