AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO CONFRONTS ELECTION FRAUD
Delisting bloated, false voting lists
Mindanao, in the southern Philippines, suffers from poor infrastructure, poverty, and violence that has claimed more than 120,000 lives in the last 40 years. It is home to the country's largest concentration of Muslims, and conflict derives from internal Christian migrations to the region, sectarian clashes, war against Muslim separatist insurgents, clan feuds, and unfulfilled hopes of peace and economic prosperity. Elections here have been known to be bloody and fraud-riddled; and our previous analytical work revealed a connection between Manila's tolerance of bad governance in the area and manipulated election results that were needed by incumbent national elites. Naturally, when President Aquino announced in mid-2011 an effort to reform governance in the region, our office was ready to move quickly and focus on vote fraud; the first step was to slim down a bloated voter list. We partnered with Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting to advocate for a general re-registration, and with 18 local Muslim civil society organizations to run voter education campaigns encouraging voters to register and recruit volunteers to prepare for and monitor the general re-registration in Mindanao. In last year's general regional re-registration in July, a huge reduction was achieved, resulting in the delisting of hundreds of thousands—from 1.8 million to 1.3 million registered voters.
Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Policy Reform in the Philippines
On November 21 in Manila, The Asia Foundation released the groundbreaking book, Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Policy Reform in the Philippines. Authored by leading economic and development experts, the book illuminates the country's greatest successes and challenges in reforms, including introducing competition and liberalization in sea transport, civil aviation, and telecommunications; instituting the privatization of water service in Metro Manila; and more.