Business World - Nationwide round-up (11/08/20)

8 November 2020

By Business World

Groups call on gov’t to drop Smartmatic system for 2022 elections

CIVIL society and church organizations have jointly called on the government to stop using the current automated election system of Smartmatic, citing problems in past polls “that far outweighed the benefits.” The statement issued over the weekend was signed by the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, Businessmen and Professionals for Good Governance, Christian Family Movement of the Philippines, Inc., Filipino American Human Rights Alliance Kontra Daya, National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections, and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, among others. It asks the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to terminate its contracts with Smartmatic and uphold a more transparent election process. “The decision to shift to an electronic voting system in 2010 which would provide a faster count and results transmission was good, but through the years, there have been many problems with the system that far outweighed the benefits and eroded the people’s trust in the automated electoral process, casting doubts on the results of each election,” the groups said in a statement over the weekend. They also urged Congress to pass a law mandating Comelec to adopt an alternative automated election system (AES). “We the people agree and would rather have an alternative AES that is more transparent and Filipino-made that ensures sovereignty of our election process. We appeal to President (Rodrigo R.) Duterte, Congress, and the Comelec, to ensure that the 2022 national elections are fair, accurate and transparent, and will truly reflect the people’s will,” they said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

Immigration bureau on higher alert for trafficking as foreign travel rules eased

IMMIGRATION officers at airports have again been directed to be extra alert for human trafficking activities after the government eased restrictions for travel abroad. Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said trafficking syndicates are likely to resume attempts to send Filipinos abroad for illegal employment “in the guise of being tourists.” “We will not allow them to board their flights and they will be sent home,” Mr. Morente said in a statement. The Bureau of Immigration said more than 300 Filipinos have been referred so far this year to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for being possible victims of human trafficking or illegal recruitment. Non-essential foreign travel was banned during the strict lockdown beginning mid-March, and was lifted October 21. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas