Social media key to election campaign amid pandemic — poll watchdog

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 8) — The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is reminding Filipinos to watch out for fake news and misinformation on social media as it remains a key player in the upcoming 2022 elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PPCRV Executive Director Maribel Buenaobra told CNN Philippines’ The Final Word how social media played a major role in the last two polls, noting it was used to spread information, fake or not.

“Social media was a game changer in 2016 in the sense that it amplified the news whether fake news, misinformation, or disinformation [or truth]. Now in 2019, it was also used by a lot of the political candidates,” she said.

For next year’s elections, Buenaobra said “social media platforms will continue to be the vehicle for campaigning” because of limitations brought by the global health crisis. She urged the public to watch out for fake news or misinformation since this will greatly affect their decision on who to vote for.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is considering several ways to run next year’s polls amid health concerns, with extended hours most likely to happen to limit the number of people in voting precincts. The poll body said it is also looking into holding elections for two to three days.

Buenaobra said they hope to recruit more volunteer poll watchers for the 2022 elections. In 2016, she noted that they had around 500,000 volunteers, and around 300,000 for the 2019 polls.

Buenaobra also encouraged more Filipinos – especially the youth – to register and vote.

Deadline of voter registration is on September 30. The public is urged to follow health protocols when heading to COMELEC regional offices, and to complete their application form online and set an appointment via