Muslim Leaders Assembly Inc. calls for CHAMP election 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 11:44

The forthcoming 2016 election is almost at our doorstep. On May 9, this year, people from different walks of life, particularly registered voters, will cast their votes for the candidates whom they think should be the next leaders of our country. Various propaganda of aspiring politicians have been conducted since the start of the campaign period. This is true not only at the national, but also at the local level, such as in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In Sulu, political rallies, radio advertisements, posters and tarpaulins, and other political paraphernalia are everywhere.

This shows the determination of every candidate to get people’s votes. And corollary to this is the tension among the candidates especially from opposing parties. But despite the tense political situation, some stakeholders are in the scene to calm down the candidates. For example, on April 11, 2016, one of the most active religious organizations in Sulu called Muslim Leaders Assembly, Inc. (MLA, Inc.) called for a Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful Election (C.H.A.M.P) 2016 at Jolo Day Care Center, Jolo Municipal Compound.

The call for CHAMP, according to MLA, Inc. Founding President Tuan Yayah Titong, campaigns for a peaceful election and encourages the religious sector to vote as well as get the candidates to commit to a just and fair election. CHAMP began by a motorcade parade at downtown Jolo where it routed from the municipal area to Brgy. Alat, Brgy. Asturias, Capitol Site then back to assembly area. Almost 250 persons participated coming from religious sectors in the province, Madrasa schools and Muslim organizations. After the parade, a short program was conducted at said day care center. Two Jolo mayoral candidates, incumbent Vice Mayor Edsir Q. Tan and Councilor Kerkhar Tan, as well as their respective parties, all of whom had received personal invitations from said assembly, attended the event. In Datu Yldon Kiram’s opening remarks, one of the elders of MLA, Inc., he said that on the Day of Judgement, political leaders will be asked multiple questions by Almighty Allah compared to a normal citizen, for the former will be held liable for whatever they have done wrong to their constituents.

Further, Vice Mayor Tan extended his message of support to the CHAMP by saying that we must value our rights to vote for the candidates whom we think can change our community for the better. He also noted that being a leader is not an easy task and that it is a serious matter. He added the people and the government leaders should bepartners. Meantime, Councilor Tan emphasized that choosing a leader is an obligation of everyone, and that politics and religion should not be separated so as to ensure faithful leadership.

Furthermore, Mr. Maudi Maadil, Human Rights Lead Coordinator of Bantay Karapatan sa Halalan 2016 (BKH)- Region IX,explained the BKH’s broad objectives: (a) To embed a human rights framework in the 2016 National and Local Elections and beyond; (b) To provide a national platform for unified human rights monitoring and reporting by citizens during the 2016 Elections; and (c)To prepare and provide evidence-based data to the public and to the appropriate state agencies to promote access to justice of victims of human rights violations, and exact accountability from perpetrators.

The BKH,asa pilot project ofthe Commission on Election (COMELEC), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), LENTE and other human rights groups, aimsto monitor the election in the community for human rights violations. Mr. Maadil noted that CHAMP is an ideology, and that we must fight for it. “The CHAMP will start in every individual then to the community,” he said.Quoting from the Statement of Unity of BKH 2016 in Intramuros, Manila, Mr. Maadil shared:

“The civil society organizations who have a common stake inhuman rights, elections, and democracy—to assert that human rights are at the core of democratic elections and therefore must be front and center of these elections.

The fact that the use of violence and intimidation, deception and fraud, must be part and parcel of Philippine elections and this must be closely monitored, with the end in view of exacting accountability for actions of this nature. Assert that the right to genuine democratic elections is precisely abouthuman rights; Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Many other rights and freedoms are also immediately apparent in an electoral context:the right to vote, to be elected, and to participate in public affairs; freedom from discrimination and equality before the law; equality between men and women; the right to a fair and public hearing and effective remedy.”

Finally, he concluded witha reminder that “It is the duty of individual to make constant effort for spreading the good and avoid evil. Allah judges us according to our acts and intentions.”

After this, the words of challenge was conveyed by Mr. Timothy Ijiran, the National President of the IDB Graduates Association of the Philippines. He began his message by challenging the attendees with this question, “Who among you have not yet cheated in school or in madrasa?” It took almost 5 minutes before a young girl raised her hand, and said she has not done such thing. The point of the question is to illustrate thatalmost all of us have cheated in life. Mr. Ijiran then encouraged everyone to avoid cheating in the coming election, and that he or she must actually vote guided by the acronym CHAMP.

According to him, 30% to 40% of registered voters have not exercised their votes in last 2013 election, so we need to encourage them to vote for this year. Mr. Ijiran also pointed out that as “Muslims we should have direction both on Earth and Heaven, and direction actually means vision.” In addition to this, Sharif Jul asiri J. Abirin, mufti of Sulu also gave message regarding this CHAMP. Mufti Abirin told the attendees that we should work together in the observance of election. He said that being a leader is a big and difficult task, and that we should find the right leaders of our community. He also mentioned that we must select the leaders who possess the qualities of bravery, integrityand intelligenceas well as those who are praying Salah. “How can he lead the community with the guidance of Islam when he cannot even lead himself with the guidance of Salah,” the mufti said. In a nutshell, the selection of a leader must be someone who has fear in Allah (SWT). Finally, the program ended witha prayer given by one member of MLA, Inc. It was observed that this CHAMP was supported by IDB Graduate Association of the Philippines and Kusug Tausug Partylist.