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On May 9, elections were held in the Philippines to elect the new president of the country. The result reported on the evening of the election announced the victory of the political tandem composed of "Bongbong" Marcos, son of Ferdinand Marcos, former dictator of the country, and Sara Duterte, daughter of Rodrigo Duterte, the outgoing president. However, several reports point to irregularities with the vote-counting machines as well as incidents of electoral fraud.
On May 11, organizations of the Filipino diaspora in Canada gathered in front of the Plamondon metro station in the Côte-des-Neiges district in Montréal. Representatives from Migrante Quebec, Anakbayan Montreal and PINAY Quebec spoke out against the unfair elections, refusing to recognize the victory of the Marcos-Duterte tandem.
The North Star spoke with Zharmaine, a representative of Migrante Quebec, a Filipino diaspora rights organization. "There are many reports of various electoral irregularities... and massive vote buying. Sometimes, [sample ballots are distributed] with names already chosen. In return, [those who distribute them] can give you 100 pesos (about $2.50 Canadian). In fact, the amounts were so small, but Filipinos will do anything to get that money."
One of the reasons Migrante opposes the Marcos - Duterte election is the violent track record of their political dynasty. It was during the Marcos administration that the labor export policy was launched. This led to the systematizing of the forced migration of Filipinos, according to Zharmaine.
Moreover, she points out, "our work here in Canada is done in very precarious conditions, in very low-paying jobs. [...] So we hope for a real change in our society so that one day we will not be forced to migrate, to be separated from our families."
As for the possibility of the election results being confirmed: "If Marcos-Duterte ever officially wins the elections, we will definitely have to be very vigilant. The Marcos and Duterte regimes were known for their human rights violations, especially for progressive groups like Migrante, red-tagging and extrajudicial killings. And we fear that the situation for Filipinos abroad will get worse."