Stratbase ADR Institute, in partnership with the Ateneo School of Government and Democracy Watch Philippines, held a virtual town hall discussion (vTHD) entitled, “Democracy Goes On: Elections & Electoral Continuity Post-COVID-19” on 27 October 2020, Tuesday, from 9:00 am – 11:00 am (Manila Time).
In just over 18 months, the Philippines will be undergoing its Presidential elections. This is historically and politically noteworthy not only because of the political weight of its results, but also because of the circumstances within which the election will take place.
Across the world, the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the delivery of public services and hampered processes crucial to maintaining social cohesion and democracy. The elections is one such process that is at risk in our present situation.
That said, it is not just in spite of the pandemic, but because of it, that an election that truly reflects the will of the people is able to push through. An election within the post-pandemic context must possess certain characteristics to be deemed a genuine reflection of public sentiment and political desire. Elections must be safe, in terms of both health and freedom from interference. Elections must also must be inclusive and participative.
It is our hope that this discussion between Stratbase ADRi, Democracy Watch Philippines, and the Ateneo School of Government, alongside private sector, civil society, and academic groups, will build a foundation of discourse towards meaningful collaboration and solution-making. The electoral process, itself the heart of democracy and democratic societies, is at risk, and no one group can claim to be able to address this danger alone. Let this discussion be the first of many towards building a whole-of-society approach to rebuilding our democracies.