By Cristyl Mae B. Senajon
STATISTICS show that 54 percent of the total voting population comes from youth bloc. Of the 2.6 million new voters, 80 percent are youth.
These statistical data show just how fundamental the role of the youth will be in shaping and determining the outcomes of the highly anticipated 2010 National and Local elections. If tapped well, these young Filipinos may well elect and put into power a whole new breed of leaders who lead the country on the fence of accountability, transparency and integrity, thereby creating a government that is more effective and more responsive to the needs and welfare of its constituents.
If this is going to be the scenario, and I’m keeping faith this will be, no more migrant Filipino workers will ever need to leave their families behind in search of greener pasture beyond borders, no more kids will be left to labor in the streets to feed their families; they will be sent to school to learn to read and write, no more families will go famished; no more Filipinos will die without being seen by a healthcare professional and above all, no more Filipinos will choose to be indifferent because they will now hold accountable their leaders for their statements and actions.
These changes though will come about only, if and only when young people, for the most part, choose to exercise their democratic rights by getting into the process of registering names on the 2010 voter’s list and exercising right to suffrage come election period.
The more crucial part however in relation to electoral processes, lies in being able to create and provide every means and ways for young voters especially first-timers to learn and be educated about the candidates—their platform of governance, track record on prior public undertakings, stance on pertinent issues and everything else that speaks of their person and character. After all, ineffective governance and unethical leadership don’t sit well with us, anymore.
Apart from these, youth claim their stake through other election-related engagements. Several youth-led organized groups are actively promoting initiatives in line with that of voter’s education in the country such as Youth Vote Philippines and Young Public Servants whose thrust is to get the unconverted vote into registering before 31 October and provide the voter-to-be such indispensable information as candidate’s comprehensive profiles, Millennium Development Goals as the checklist for candidates, and polls, among others to making an informed decision come 2010.
Ateneo School of Government’s Generation Change composed of student leaders from the Ateneo de Manila University is also making dent on the future stakeholders of the country through educating the youth groups of the 3rd District of Quezon City with their shared views and insights on voting for the right leaders in our government.
A number of youth, in the same breath, have chosen not to quibble but lay wager on the presidential candidate they feel strongly for and passionate about this up and coming election. There is PiNoy Power and YoNoy! for Sen. Noynoy Aquino, Kabataang Nasyonalista for Sen. Manny Villar, and pool of youth volunteers for National Defense Sec. Gilbert Teodoro and former President Joseph Estrada, respectively.
These youth-led campaigns prove the fact that the youth are in no way letting this chance pass up, the chance to do something through voting the right candidate therefore altering possibilities for a better future in this country.