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COMELEC HOSTS THE 2018 AAEA EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING AND FORUM ON INDEPENDENCE OF ELECTION MANAGEMENT BODIES AND ELECTION SECURITY

Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

October 8 to 10, 2018

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) served as a host to the 2018 Executive Board Meeting (EBM) and Forum on the Independence of the Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and Election Security of the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) on October 8 to 10, 2018 at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

 

Pursuant to Art. 3.7 of its Revised Charter, the AAEA, composed of twenty (20) member-EMBs, shall hold its Executive Board Meeting once a year.  As the incumbent two (2)-year Chairperson of the AAEA until March 2019, the Commission on Elections, under the leadership of Honorable Chairman Sheriff M. Abas, presided over the meeting  of the complete  seven (7) member-EMBs on October 8, 2018.

 

Honorable Commissioner Al A. Parreño, the appointed Executive Secretary of the AAEA, opened the program and presented the Report of the Secretariat.

 

The other members of the COMELEC En Banc — Commissioners Luie Tito F. Guia, Ma. Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon, Socorro B. Inting, Marlon S. Casquejo, and Antonio T. Kho, Jr. who each had a role, also attended the event.

 

 All distinguished members of the Executive Board were present, to wit: The Central Election Commissions (CECs) of the Russian Federation (represented by Deputy Director Sergey Agadzhanov of the International Cooperation)  and Kazakhstan (represented by its Member Ms. Zauresh Baimoldina) from the Central Asia as the Vice-Chairperson and Member, respectively;  the Election Commissions (ECs) of India (represented by its Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner. Umesh Sinha and Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar) and Pakistan (represented by Deputy Director Shaheen Ghazal) from the South Asia; the CEC of Taiwan, ROC (represented by its Vice Chairperson Chao-Chien Chen, Assistant Director General Jin-Gaw Tsai and Section Assistant Tzung-Yu Lai) and General Elections Commission (GEC) of Indonesia (represented by  its Chairman Arief Budiman and Commissioner Mr. Ilham Saputra) from the South East Asia/Asia-Pacific as the additional four (4) members.

 

After the Executive Board Meeting, Dir. Jeannie A. Flororita of the COMELEC Information and Technology Department lectured on and demonstrated the Philippine Automated Election System particularly on the operations of the Vote-Counting Machine (VCM).

 

On October 9 and 10, 2018 A Forum on “The Independence of Election Management Bodies and Election Security” was expertly facilitated by Regional Director for Asia-Pacific and Technical Lead on Election, Conflict and Security, Mr. Vasu Mohan and International Consultant, Dr. Cheselden George V. Carmona, both from the International Foundation for Election System (IFES).

 

During the Forum, six (6) member-EMBs namely, COMELEC, Philippines; CEC of Indonesia; ECs of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Australia gave presentations on the various challenges they have encountered as an independent election management body and the corresponding solutions. Each presentation was followed by an interactive exercise to synthesize the points and issues raised by the presenters.

 

The same open forum was conducted after the second batch of presentations by the remaining EMBs, including the COMELEC, Philippines, on “Electoral Security Challenges and Best Practices on Preventing Violence Against Women in Politics”.  The presenters were ECs of Bhutan, India, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea; CEC of Taiwan and Kyrgyz Republic, as well as GEC of Mongolia. The EC of Maldives and the CECs of Russia and Kazakhstan also actively participated in the discussion.

 

As a showcase of the distinctly Filipino hospitality and diverse arts and music, the delegates from sixteen (16) EMBs were treated to a Cultural Dinner in the evening of October 9, 2018 where our very own COMELEC Chorale Group and Sindaw Philippines Performing Arts Guild Inc. caught the guests in awe.

 

To further make their visit to the country worthwhile and memorable, the foreign delegates, on the last day of the forum, were brought to a Cultural Tour at the National Museum of Natural History in Luneta Park and other nearby heritage areas.

 

 They were also accompanied to a quick trip to a souvenir shop in Mall of Asia where they can buy quality Filipino handicrafts, clothing and other native goods.

 

The AAEA is an organization comprised of EMBs in the Asian and Australasian region. Its mission is “to provide a nonpartisan forum in Asia for the exchange of information among election authorities to discuss and act upon ways to promote open and transparent elections with the objective of supporting good governance and democracy.”

 

The organization was founded in February 1998 in Manila, Philippines, a year after its Charter was passed on January 26 to 29, 1997 by the participants of the Symposium on Asian Elections in the Twenty-First Century held also in Manila, Philippines.

 

 

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