The 11th hour shower

Presbyterian Peacemaking Program staff member Nancy Eng MacNeill writes:

Election history in the Philippines has been fraught with fraud and corruption from before the time of Marcos to the current Arroyo regime. As a result, arriving in Manila for the May 2010 election were 87 observers from 11 countries. They came to participate in the People's International Observer's Mission (PIOM). The observers spent a day and a half in orientation that included information on the automated voting machines (PCOS) chosen to reduce the possibilities of fraud and provide secrecy for the voters and the voting process. The PCOS machines, created by SmartMatic, had some problems; their use has been challenged by the PIOM and other advocacy groups working with people who are marginalized in society.

The international observers were put into teams that traveled to locations throughout the Philippines that were considered hotspots or areas of interest in past elections. My team was sent to Surigao del Norte in northern Mindanao. The Surigao group was then divided into three local teams to observe Tubod, Surigao City and Mainit. My team travelled to Mainit and arrived fairly lately late in the evening. As we drove into the Barangay (community), the streets were lined with people and the churches were open for people to attend prayer vigils in preparation for the elections.

The 11th hour shower or "Tili Tili" is the reason for people to be sitting near the main roads in the late evening or early morning hours on the day before and the day of the election. It is a common practice that candidates will participate in a last "vote buying" effort with constituents, similar to a "showering" of money. So people wait and hope that they will receive money (and in most cases an additional amount of money) for their vote.

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