WASHINGTON, D.C.—Former Commission on Elections Chairman Christian Monsod received this evening the prestigious Joe C. Baxter Award from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) for his role in building transparent election systems in the Philippines.
In a statement, the Philippine Embassy said Chairman Monsod, who is also the founder of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) and one of the leading figures of the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), received the award in ceremonies in Washington, D.C. on Monday, 5 November 2012.
“Chairman Monsod has been a pivotal figure in the development of Philippine democracy and, throughout his career, has worked to build transparent election systems in the Philippines and to ensure that all segments of Philippine society – including traditionally marginalized populations – fully participate in the electoral process,” IFES President and Chief Executive Officer William Sweeney said in a statement prior to the presentation of the award to Chairman Monsod in ceremonies at the Ritz Carlton here.
“This year’s Baxter Award is of special significance as IFES celebrates 25 years of success and recognizes Monsod’s lifetime achievements in the field of election administration,” said Sweeney. “We couldn’t be honoring a more fitting and deserving individual who fully epitomizes our mission of democracy building and passionate dedication to giving a voice to the underrepresented in the way they are governed.”
In accepting the award, Chairman Monsod said he was deeply honored at being the recipient of the IFES award, adding that he considers it an affirmation by an acknowledged international expert institution of the pioneering efforts taken by the Philippines to modernize its election system.
“We look forward to a continuing association with IFES in the ongoing reforms to further strengthen and broaden the choices of the voters by addressing such problems as dysfunctional political parties, the improper use of money including government resources, and of warlordism and political dynasties in a number of constituencies,” Chairman Monsod said.
The ceremonies were attended by Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca, former Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Solita Monsod and other officials of the Philippine Embassy.
“This award is well deserved because I am personally aware of the significant contributions of Chairman Monsod to the Philippine electoral system starting in his days as a NAMFREL volunteer to the time he assumed as Chair of the Comelec,” says Ambassador Cuisia, who himself served as NAMFREL Chair.
The IFES presents the Joe C. Baxter Award annually to recognize the contribution of a professional whose skills, dedication and sacrifices to the field of election administration epitomize the mission of IFES and embody the spirit of former IFES Senior Advisor for Election Administration Joe C. Baxter. Baxter had a firm commitment to the principles of local ownership, transparency and sustainability of electoral administration.
The presentation of the Joe C. Baxter Award is the highlight of the US Election Program that IFES is hosting in Washington D.C. from 4 to 7 November 2012. Over 300 election officials, parliamentarians and diplomats from over 50 countries will be in the US capital to observe the US presidential elections as well as discuss elections and voting from comparative international perspectives.
IFES is a Washington-based NGO that was established in 1987 to support citizen’s right to participate in free and fair elections around the globe. It has worked in over 135 countries, including the Philippines, by providing technical assistance to election officials; empowering underrepresented to participate in the political process; and applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle.
In the Philippines, IFES is assisting in efforts to get more indigenous people (IP) to participate in next year’s elections by assisting the Inter-Agency and People’s Organization Network on Empowering IPs in the Electoral Process that was convened by the Comelec early this year.
IFES is assisting the working group by facilitating partnerships; sharing international standards and best practices on IP suffrage; and supporting the process of proposing electoral mechanisms that would benefit IP communities. ###