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BARMM political parties pledge to combat disinformation, misinformation

EIGHT Bangsamoro political parties seek to ensure credible, honest, and fair elections by steering clear of negative campaigning and addressing misinformation for the first parliamentary government election in 2025.

This was discussed by the representatives, secretary generals, and spokespersons participating in the 2025 election in BARMM during the Bangsamoro Political Parties Forum 2024: Defending Election Integrity held at Dusit Thani Hotel in the city on Monday, March 18.

Lawyer Omar Yasser Sema, the deputy secretary-general of the Bangsamoro party, said it will be a painstaking process but they pledge to adhere to the rule of law in the face of disinformation and misinformation. 

Ang masasabi ko kung meron misinformation or disinformation na lalabas,” he said.If anyone uses misinformation, we cannot engage them but we have to force ourselves to play by the rules.”

Nur- Ainee Lim, a representative of the Maharlika party, said each aspirant and their supporters should be accessible to the people. “You should offer information rather than be reactive or defensive.”  She said the party should be aware of the issues the constituents are facing and they should give tips and advice on how to anticipate and address disinformation.

“The party should be both online and on the ground where information officers should be easily reached and there should be a way to authenticate who is given the outright and acute information. So, whatever the fake news and misinformation, you can easily go back to that page or person and say that ‘this is misinformation’ and we will be able to do the right thing,” she further said.

But, Engineer Mohajirin Ali, spokesperson of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, said anyone who enters politics must be prepared for character assassination, which is normal in every election.

Ali called on the media to help the parties address misinformation and disinformation.  “If there is that kind of misinformation, you will help to correct it outright and our part, for example, in social media, if there is this kind of accusation to us, we can say it through social media.”

Atty. Rasol Mitmug Jr., the secretary general of the Bangsamoro People’s Party, also the parties must appoint information officers who are ready to give any clarification. 

This was echoed by  Atty Badrodin Mangindra, the legal officer and public relations officer of the Al-Ittihad Mindanawe Darrusalam-Ungya Ku Kawagibu Bangsamoro, who proposed a coalition with the media to ensure good communication and coordination.

According to Atty. Faisal Cali, legal counsel of the Serbisyong Inklusibo- Alyansang Progresibo, each party must practice integrity while participating in the electoral process. 

 “We believe that we have the right to answer that misinformation and hope that our media partners will ask us and will give the correct information,” Cali said.

Deonato Mokudef, the secretary-general of the Indigenous Peoples Democratic Party, said all sectors must commit to conducting a fair election devoid of any negative practices often used in the past. 

Lastly, Julio Tehankee, a professor of Political Science and International Studies at Dela Salle University, said with the advent of social media, the issue of misinformation and disinformation have become a corroding factor for the democratic quality not only in the Philippines but in other parts of the world. 

“I think the way to do right now is to craft your own narrative, to set directives,” he said.

When asked what their electoral mechanism is in place to prevent violence, Nur-Aimee Lim said they have the confidence and trust in the security forces that they will be able to manage and keep a peaceful election. 

“In elections, our emotions are very heightened,” she said, adding that in regional elections, “we have the MILF and the MNLF (members) who will volunteer, who will not just be watchdogs but were trained as far as security matters. We will be more than happy with the security forces that will uphold the peace during the election,” she further said. 

Atty. Sema admitted that the BARMM has been hounded by violent elections in the past, but “now it has already improved and was fully addressed by the law enforcers on the ground.”

Moreover, the losing political parties must help the winning candidates craft plans with the ultimate aim of helping the Bangsamoro people. 

The forum was convened by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), bringing all political parties to deepen their understanding of their significant roles and responsibilities in catalyzing citizens on the political and electoral system in the region. The gathering also discussed the challenges and opportunities for strengthening the role of regional political parties through the support of the media and civil society to combat disinformation and stand for electoral integrity. 



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