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AS more fake news continue to proliferate, especially now that the 2022 national elections is growing closer, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) welcomed the introduction of the new survey firm Boses, Opinyon, Siyasat, at Siyensya para sa Pilipinas or BOSES Pilipinas.

The survey firm aims to provide a more transparent and innovative approach in doing opinion polls and survey research, a go-to hub for the Filipino electorate in terms of accessing correct information and guidance.

COMELEC Spokesperson Director James Jimenez believes BOSES Pilipinas would greatly complement the ongoing efforts towards a more informed citizenry leading up to the 2022 Elections.

One of the major problems identified by the COMELEC as being a red flag coming up to the 2022 elections is the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation. Any initiative that will help to educate the public as to the difference between the two, of course, will be very welcome,” he said during BOSES Pilipinas’ launch last Wednesday.

The fact that [BOSES Pilipinas] is more transparent with its methods, the fact that more people can see behind the curtain… will contribute to the attention that they would get. Marami nga tayong surveys diyan, pero iyong level of satisfaction naman with the surveys ay apektado dahil nga duda iyong publiko doon sa survey outfit, or doon sa resulta,” COMELEC Director Jimenez added.

The elections agency spokesperson lauds BOSES Pilipinas’ efforts “to ensure that the projects undertaken will be for the right reasons and certainly for enlightenment of the audience.”

For her part, Boses Pilipina convenor Dr. Imelda Deinla assured the public that the survey unit would be non-partisan and academic-based. She said the group would “not accept commissioned surveys from politicians.”

We want Filipinos to trust the results of our surveys and that is why mahalaga po sa amin that we do this through a reliable, transparent, and credible process and the public can take comfort in the fact that our surveys will only be conducted after undergoing a university review,” she said.

Mahalagang mahalaga that we ask the right questions, that there is no bias in the way we ask the questions, and that we get the right representation in the population. At higit sa lahat po, we conduct our surveys through ethical and respectful conduct.”

VERA Files co-founder and president Ellen Tordesillas commended the efforts of the new survey firm to ensure that the reports of local media are trustworthy.

When we give the people credible fact-based reports, we are giving them the weapon to counter disinformation so that they themselves can hold those in power accountable. BOSES Pilipinas will help us give substance to the accountability journalism we are doing,” she commented.

Tordesillas also added that the independence of BOSES Pilipinas from commissioned surveys helps the Filipino people make better and more informed decisions during the 2022 elections.

It is also giving opportunity to people who are most vulnerable, iyong mahirap i-reach, to know their concerns, their views, their feelings. This is giving voice to the voiceless,” Tordesillas said.

Facebook Data for Good Public Policy and Research Manager Kelsey Mulcahy also noted that the innovative methodologies that BOSES Pilipinas will implement could provide more substantial evidence and information that “can be used to inform policy-making and other decisions.”

I think there’s a great opportunity there to be able to administer surveys on social media whether it’s Facebook or any other social media. You are probably able to capture information quickly and be able to sort of administer surveys and then share information out at a faster pace,” Mulcahy said.

Dr. Deinla added BOSES Pilipinas is composed of very competent and recognized experts from different fields such as political science, economics, psychology, law, public administration, and mass communication.

We will also be using an interdisciplinary lens sa pagsisiyasat sa kung ano ang nag-uudyok sa mga saloobin ng mamamayan. Ibig sabihin, we will combine disciplines in the way we examine complex problems that the country faces. It is our goal that our leaders and decision-makers will use those survey results in crafting responsive and effective policies and decisions,” she added.

In the coming months, BOSES Pilipinas, together with non-partisan, pro-democracy coalition PARTICIPATE, will be releasing opinion polls and evidence-based studies on presidential satisfaction, 2022 elections voting preferences among the youth, disinformation and fake news, youth leadership and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), vote-buying, and many more.

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