First-time voters hope to make a difference

11 05 2009

THE youth group First Time Voters (FTV) Network on Sunday hang a big streamer with the slogan “Magparehistro. Bumoto. May Pag-asa pa. (Register. Vote. Transform.)” at the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila as a reminder of the urgency to register for the 2010 elections.

Youth leaders from Manila, Makati, Quezon City and Mandaluyong gathered in Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila, participated in the activity by giving passersby and onlookers flyers on the registration process at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“FTV Network is very much excited about the hype that different civil-society groups are creating at present in order to encourage our young people to register for the May 2010 elections,” Paula Bianca Lapuz, FTV national convenor, said.

The FTV project started in 2001 as a national campaign to extend the registration for 5-million disfranchised first-time voters.

“Our coming out today is also in solidarity with all the reform groups that believe that there are still ways by which we can achieve genuine and lasting change in our country,” Lapuz said.

The group initially launched its voters’ registration information drive in Isabela, Iligan and Rizal last month, and is gearing up for another series, including Cebu, Iloilo, Bohol, Zamboanga, Butuan and General Santos City.

“There’s still hope that our country would recover from the blows of dirty politics if only the Filipino citizens, most especially the young people, will work collectively to create transformative politics,” said Helen Joy Paulino, national spokesperson of FTV.

The network explained that 2010 is a very good opportunity for the youth to come out of their comfort zones and claim their stakes in one of the most fundamental democratic practices in the country, the national election. The 2010 elections will hopefully be the first year for the 9 million new voters to cast their votes.

It emphasized that in 2010, roughly 60 percent of the electorate will come from the age bracket of 18 to 40 years old, thus, first illustrating the young people’s potential political force.

As the registration deadline approaches, the FTV Network gave assurances there will be real- time mass registration for young people in Comelec offices in all of FTV areas nationwide.

“We still have a few months left until the next national elections. Let us get involved one way or another. This is a job that we [young people] have to do together,” Lapuz said.

The activity was supported by the organizations Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Movement for the Advancement of Student Power and Akbayan Youth and nongovernment organization Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking.

Source: Business Mirror




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