Highlighting the power that youth holds during next year’s elections, the Samahan Ang Pinas 2022 emphasized the role of the younger generation and stories of Filipino people during its launching last September 25 via Zoom and Facebook Live.
A project of the SAMAHAN, they invited Atty. Aimee Ferolino, the Commissioner of the Commission of Elections (COMELEC), and Ramon Beleno III, coordinator of the AdDU Blue Vote, to share their expertise on the importance of electoral engagement and unified citizen engagement.
Ferolino discussed the factors that affect voter turnout, explaining that younger people usually make up a lower percentage of the electorate than older people. However, in the May 2019 elections, almost half of the voters were from the youth.
“Kayo ‘yung mas maraming number. So ‘pag kayo ay bumoto, malaki ang tsansa na ang boses niyo ang mananaig,” Ferolino stressed.
Ferolino also talked about the role of youth in voter registration. According to her, youth serve as leaders, teachers, and friends who could offer the necessary encouragement to increase the number of youth who register to vote.
“The youth should not just look at the candidate’s personal life; we should also look at his professional life. The way that he handles his position in the government may be different, and the way [that] he lives his life may be different,” she said.
Meanwhile, Beleno shared that the biggest threat to Philippine democracy is not the pandemic but the rise of populism and pragmatism.
“I think it’s bad for a nation or an electorate if they base their electoral decisions on practicality or pragmatism. It’s more important to base your political decisions on values,” he said.
Beleno added that pragmatism is an issue due to the economic effects of the pandemic, wherein candidates might take advantage of this situation for their political gain. Thus, this election will be an ‘election of popularity and bandwagoning.’
“In elections, the people would be willing targets of unscrupulous politicians. Disinformed, misinformed, and uninformed electorates will threaten the future of our democracy by electing the wrong people,” he emphasized.
Beleno offers several solutions to combat populism and pragmatism, including battling fake news, monitoring voting patterns in the Philippines, and challenging the public to be engaged.
Ferolino and Beleno both ended their talks by encouraging everyone to register to vote and exercise their rights as a citizen.
Samahan Ang Pinas 2022 amplifies Filipino stories
According to SAMAHAN President and Campaign Lead for Samahan Ang Pinas 2022 Karlo Alessandro Torreon, “Samahan ang Pinas” is more than a phrase but a call to action not to settle for the current status quo.
“We are telling everyone now more than ever that it is our obligation to be involved. This election is not merely about our candidates, but rather, of the Mindanaoan people,” Torreon mentioned in his welcoming address.
Mark Paul Samante, the chairperson of the AdDU University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC), together with student leaders from Notre Dame of Marbel University, AdDU-SHS, Xavier University, and Ateneo de Zamboanga University, expressed their support towards the Samahan Ang Pinas 2022 campaign.
“In making sure that our stories are heard and listened to, we must work on a consolidated effort to get our message across to them,” Samante said.
The launch ended with the closing remarks from Samantha Claire Cayona, the Assistant Head for Internal Affairs for Samahan Ang Pinas 2022.
“In the next months, Samahan Ang Pinas will tell more stories from Ateneans and Mindanaoans that will shake us, that will inspire us, that will disturb us, and that will make us uncomfortable so that when we vote next year, we remember the faces and the narratives of our fellow Filipinos,” Cayona said.
Further details for this project are made available on their social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.