First-time voters lash at Con-Ass

7 12 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006
By Grace L. Plata

THE First Time Voters Network-Davao protested the intensified move at the House of Congress to push for a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution.

“It (Charter change) also upholds the conservation of traditional and elite politics in a mask of a new political system,” a statement sent by the FTMN-Davao dated December 5 said.

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It is their generation, the FTMN said, who will have to contend with the consequences of the mistakes of leaders in the present time and even before they can cast their first vote, there is already another mistake being created.

The FTMN is an advocate of the First Time Voters Project committed to raising the awareness of the youth and their politico-electoral engagement towards new politics and good governance.

The project aims to educate citizens who will be of voting age by 2007 elections on the importance of practicing their right to suffrage or to vote by starting with registration how tos.

The FTVP, spearheaded by various student groups in Davao City, has brought the advocacy to various schools in Davao City with communities as its next target.

According to a FTVN-Davao representative Fred Balaqui in an interview Wednesday, it is sad that most young people do not participate in policy-making because they are not consulted.

The network aims to facilitate the timely issue through encouraging active citizenship among young people and providing them the avenues to do so.

The network will formulate an “alternative politics” paper due on January that will tackle approaches to politics and policy-making to replace traditional politics based on personality and prestige.

Mark Alan, another representative, said alternative politics is a concept of new-age leaders who are agenda-based and platform-based in their approach towards running for office.

Alan said they believe “alternative politics” will be more appropriate to address the need to have well-informed and able leaders in the future.

By disseminating this kind of information, they can do their part in transforming society by helping and guiding fellow youth on the factors and abilities a candidate must have to merit the vote.

The network has formed a base of volunteers who they will train and capacitate to be effective and be able to give the correct information when they go back to their respective communities thus widening the reach of the advocacy and information drive.