Youth leaders launch drive to educate first-time voters

29 09 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

TO make sure the youth will be able to participate in next year’s elections, young leaders yesterday relaunched the first time voters (FTV) project.

FTV was started by different youth and student organizations to inform the youth on the ongoing registration for first time voters as well as educate them why they should be actively involved in the 2007 elections.

Ernie Edralin of Akbayan Youth-Cebu said that in 2004, two million first time voters were “disenfranchised” because of insufficient information for new registrants.

“Our numbers will show how crucial we are in the next elections. We would like to ensure that we will not have another case of million of first time voters not having their chance to cast their first vote in 2007,” Edralin said.

Registration for first time voters is on going until Dec. 30. All they have to do is go to the nearest Commission on Election (Comelec) office with a valid identification card.

But Edralin said some Comelec offices have limitations in entertaining new registrants because they only have one data capturing machine and they only entertain 100 new registrants a day.

School tours

Registration is done from Sunday to Thursday only.

The different youth organizations will be touring the different schools and barangays for their campaign where they will speak before the students about the project as well as distribute posters.

In December, they will also be touring in different schools with Professor Randy David, who will talk about the importance of voting and voting wisely.

Millie Joy Guines of the Philippine Normal University, who came to Cebu yesterday for the relaunching of the project, said the campaign does not end in voting in the next election but will also “galvanize the position” of the youth on the issues against traditional politicians and governance.

FTV first became popular in 2000 at the height of the campaign to extend the registration of 4.5 million young voters who failed to exercise their rights because of the lack of information dissemination. (MBG)





No to Disenfranchisement in 2007: Youth Organizations Relaunch the First Time Voters Project

18 09 2006

FTV launching Press Release

No to Disenfranchisement in 2007:

Youth Organizations Relaunch the First Time Voters Project

Different organizations from schools and communities in Metro Manila today relaunches in a music-caravan the “First Time Voters Project Registration Campaign”. Young people ages 17-21 years old, in their motorcycles and cars with loud music, hop around university areas to inform fellow first time voters of the ongoing registration and the need for young people to be active in the coming elections.

Young people comprise the majority of the voting population. For young people ages 18-24 alone, the projected voting population of the National Statistics Office in 2004 is 11 million. First time voters include those 18 to 21 years old who have not yet participated in the elections of 2004 and those 21 years old and above who have failed to register in the last elections. Each new voter, a Filipino citizen ages 18 years old in the day of the elections need to register as a pre-requisite in voting.

According to the group, 5 million and 2 million first time voters were disenfranchised in the elections of 2001 and 2004 respectively due to insufficient information for new registrants. “Our numbers show how crucial we are in the next elections. We would like to ensure that we will not have yet another case of millions of first time voters not having their chance to cast their first vote in 2007,” says Student Council Alliance of the Philippines NCR and Project Spokesperson Bianca Lapuz.

Earlier this month, the Social Weather Stations released their survey conducted in June 2006 that three-fourths (76%) of the 18-24 years old unregistered voters say they are unaware of the continuing voters registration.

The First Time Voters Project started as a national campaign in 2001 of youth organizations like Movement for the Advancement of Student Power, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Akbayan Youth and ALYANSA to extend registration for millions of first time voters who did not meet the registration deadline. Hurdles in the registration of 2001 and 2004, according to then Project Coordinator Marie Chris Cabreros, include lack of information, inaccessibility of registration venues, and differences in requirements for different areas especially for urban poor youth.

Aside from the concern on the registration, the First Time Voters Project is a platform for new voters to put their stake and agenda for 2007. “The lessons of 2001 and 2004 and the current traditional political landscape gave us basis to be pro-active in encouraging fellow youth to participate and not allow ourselves be muted in the electoral exercise that is very crucial in the coming months. If first time voters unite under a platform and choose better leaders that will transform the deteriorating situation that our country now is in, then we ensure the future we deserve,” says Lapuz.

The group hops in the University Belt, Taft Avenue, Intramuros, Aurora-Cubao and Katipunan conducting a program, playing music and giving out fliers on the registration information. The First Time Voters Project after in Metro Manila will be reluanched also in Cebu, Bacolod, Ilo-Ilo, Dumaguete City, Bohol, Davao, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro and Angeles City.