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International observers see poverty as major election issue

May. 15, 2007

TONDO, MANILA — “We are going to vote but we are not very optimistic that our lives will be better after the elections. For sure, we will continue to face the threat of demolition after the elections.”

Whoever wins, the people of Tondo are somewhat frustrated that no one is doing enough to stop the intensifying poverty and demolition of urban poor communities in Metro Manila.

Such were the sentiments gathered by the Peoples’ International Observers Mission (Peoples’ IOM) Manila team as they interviewed voters regarding their economic situation and their views on electoral fraud.

* Magat Salamat Elementary School / Voting Center:

In discussions with voters concerning the mid-term elections, most expressed various opinions on the important political issues that were at stake during this election. Particularly voters expressed frustration on the growing poverty within the Tondo district of Manila, “We are poor and getting poorer. Despite our situation the Arroyo government is doing nothing to change our situation, so we hope to see a change of government,” explained one voter.

* Manuel L Quezon Elementary School / Voting Center:

The IOM team had discussions with voters on the possibility of electoral cheating. “We all know that major vote buying took place. Those in power will do anything to stay in power but never think about us the poor of the Philippines,” said local voter Mr. Alano.

* Tondo Elementary School / Voting Center:

IOM members spoke with voters who expressed the importance of addressing poverty issues within the context of the election.

* H Atienza School / Voting Center:

IOM members also spoke with voters who outlined the situation of poverty facing residents of the district.

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