Indigenous Women from all over the Philippines and LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women's Rights) are in solidarity with the actions taking place in the country regarding the reported irregularities in the elections that took place last May 9, 2022.
We fought this election like no other. We shed sweat and tears for the common aspiration that the government shall finally serve its people, and that we may be able to breathe from killings and violence in indigenous communities. The reported irregularities in the process of canvassing and transmission of votes are puzzling to many. Many indigenous communities reported that even though the polls in their respective precincts were not yet over, partial and unofficial results were already in the news. There were also many Vote Count Machines (VCMs) that did not work, corrupted SD Cards, and torn ballots. Others waited in line for hours and even spent the night but still could not cast their ballot because there were no backup VCMs in their precincts. Election violations were also reported such as widespread vote-buying, intimidation, and violence.
We urge election oversight agencies to look into, evaluate, and investigate the reported irregularities in many areas and precincts. The COMELEC cannot ignore the reports and say that the election was peaceful because it is contrary to what is happening in many areas. If it is proven that there was an improper process and fraud, those involved must be held accountable.
Our time presents us with a challenge. We mourn, but it is not the end. Let us continue to protect our history against the distortions and revision of facts. At the same time, we are carving a new history – one that is right, and just - through our collective voice and collective strength. Let us hold on to the hope that emerged and has served as a light to many during the campaign.
We will be vigilant and continue to hold accountable those who are guilty of corruption, violence, and lies.
Then until now and even into the future, we will continue to stand for a government that is honest, that has a heart, and caring for indigenous peoples, women, and the environment; one that recognizes indigenous women as companions and partners in the birth of life, of hope, of justice and freedom.
Originally published in Filipino. This statement was updated on June 14, 2022.