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Ateneo Joins NAMFREL




More than 300 Atenean students and alumni filled the seats (and the aisles) of Escaler Hall for the first NAMFREL Bantay Bilang general assembly held last April 16, 2007. This massive turnout was so unexpected which left everyone relieved--after all, this is an indicator that more and more Ateneans are readily taking on the task of protecting the sanctity of the ballot, trusting in the democratic process, and believing in the spirit of volunteerism.

And this is what Dr. Benjamin Tolosa primarily spoke of in his presentation. As one of the key leaders of One Voice, he explains that people nowadays are plagued not with apathy or indifference, but with withdrawal. Withdrawal pertains to the loss of belief in a system, so instead of its participants taking action, they would rather step back on the basis that nothing more could be done to change it. It is through PBB VforCE, or Pinoy Bantay Bilang - Volunteers for Clean Elections that Dr. Tolosa, together with its other proponents, intends to combat said negative outlook.

Three major organizations are in charge of monitoring the elections—poll watching (PPCRV’s Bantay Bilang), monitoring of canvassing process (LENTE’s Bantay Canvass) and operation quick count, under NAMFREL’s Bantay Bilang. The Loyola Schools, in concretizing and reinforcing the idea of volunteerism, will serve as the tabulation headquarters for NAMFREL’s Operation Quick Count for Quezon City. NAMFREL Quezon City Chair Zandro Rapadas also gave a short presentation during the general assembly, thereby giving the audience a clear picture of the organization and the help it needs to operate smoothly. All the activities of the Quick Count will be held at the MVP Center for Student Leadership and the Faura Computer Laboratories. Training days for volunteers will be held on April 21-22, 2007 also in the Ateneo campus.

The old Chinese proverb, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness” has guided NAMFREL in its quest to protect the electoral process of the country.

NAMFREL alone needs 3000 volunteers, and PBB VforCE is calling for 1 Million volunteers to maintain a clean and honest electoral process. Anyone who wishes to join any of the PBB VforCE organizations can reach them through vforce2007@gmail.com (email), 09263041826 (mobile), 4265968 (fax), 4266001 loc. 3440/3441 (landline) or www.vofrce.multiply.com. For precinct volunteers, please send your name, contact information and name of barangay where you belong to namfrel@gmail.com, or text 09228177382. For tabulation center volunteers, email bantaybilang@yahoo.com or text 09157882132. Feel free to visit NAMFREL QC’s homepage at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/namfrel and download the Volunteer Sign-up sheet and to find out the latest information on the organization.

The movement towards change starts with believing, followed by action. The movement towards change starts now.



Blue Blood Vol.1 No.2                    Blue Blood


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