Catholic churches across the country simultaneously tolled their bells on Sunday to mark exactly a year before the national elections.
The church bells were rung for at least three minutes at noontime after the Angelus prayer to encourage eligible citizens to register and vote for the May 2022 polls.
The efforts are part of initiatives lined up by Eleksyon 2022 Koalisyon, a non-partisan and multisectoral alliance of 29 civic and religious groups, including Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the bishops’ conference.
“Let’s awaken and enliven once more our love for the country. Register to vote,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, director of the national Caritas.
His executive secretary, Fr. Antonio Labiao, emphasized the importance of the Church taking the lead in mobilizing citizens towards “active engagement” for next year’s elections.
“It’s important for the church if we are serious with our mandate… to actively participate. This is a call for us to get involved in good governance,” Labiao said.
Over 1.5 million have so far registered as new voters for the May 2022 local and national polls, the Commission on Elections said.
The poll body is looking to register some 4 million new voters by the end of the voters’ registration period on Sept. 30, 2021.
Aside from this, 7 million voter accounts have been deactivated, with only around 700,000 reactivated, according to Comelec’s records.
The coalition hopes to register an additional of at least 7 million voters through their #RegiToVote campaign through initiatives on the ground and social media.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) also launched today its preparations and commitment to safeguard the electoral process.
Masses were held in different dioceses for the intention of the PPCRV’s mission for credible, honest, accurate, meaningful and peaceful elections next year.
“The Mass is just the start. PPCRV calls for our people’s prayers for our nation as we countdown to May 9, 2022,” it said.