Davao launches citizen’s youth arm for May polls

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DAVAO City, April 22, 2013—Barely three weeks before the 2013 midterm polls, the Davao Association of Catholic School, Inc. (DACS) launched the “Operation e-CHAMP” in response to the call of Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles to put up a citizen arm group that will involve young people in the coming elections. 

Aimed at achieving a Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful eldctions in the local level, the launch was held last on April 20 at the Dacs center in collaboration with the Commission on Election (Comelec), Davao City Police Office, Department of Education, the National Movement for Free Election (Namfrel), the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Davao Chapter. 

According to Fr. Archimedes Lachica, project coordinator of e-Champ, the project is realized because of the urgency to help and assist the people in educating voters. 

The program is a new strategy taken by DACSs wherein parishes will be responsible for educating the voters while young people from Catholic schools will be doing the voting, sighting part. 

Lachica also said that parishes under the archdiocese through its Social Action Ministry would give education to voters while the e-Champ or the Catholic schools would lead in poll watching. 

The program involves poll watching, giving assistance to voters especially the first time voters, the elderly and the people with disabilities (PWDs), and collecting the election returns. 

There are 1,162 clustered precincts and 261 voting centers where the expected 2,900 volunteers will be deployed. 

Volunteers will be stationed as precincts poll watchers, roving poll watchers, food brigade, mobile volunteers and the like for the coming May 13 election. They will be given kits which would contain the checklist of the things to do, t-shirts, and identification cards. 

Lachica stressed that the program is not just created for the 2013 election but also for elections in the near future such as the 2016 national elections. 

Young people interested in volunteering for e-Champ can register at the DACS office or at the Holy Cross of Davao College for District 1, Assumption College of Davao for District 2 while District 3 volunteers may sign up at St. Peter’s College of Toril, Holy Cross College of Calinan and Holy Cross College of Mintal. 

Registrants are also accepted at St. Mary’s College of Tagum in Tagum City, Davao del Norte; Holy Cross College of Bansalan and Holy Cross of Malita in Davao del Sur. 

The launching was attended by representatives from collaborators and youth leaders from different member-Catholic schools of DACS. (Jandel Posion with reports from Ritzchild John Cariaga)

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