2,653,594 new voters—last 2 months for registration!!!!!

4 09 2009

The country now has 2,653,594 new voters, the Commission on Elections announced Wednesday. The poll body’s announcement came after news reports surfaced recently quoting Senator Francis Escudero as saying that the ongoing voter registration has yielded only 841,200.

“We wish to inform the public that as of June 30, 2009, we now have more than 2.6 million new voters nationwide,” COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez clarified.

“We expect the number to even increase especially since most Filipinos prefer to register during the 11th hour,” he added.

Jimenez attributed the high registration turn-out to the active participation of media organizations and citizens’ groups in encouraging the youth to register coupled with the COMELEC’s intensified campaign to promote voter registration. ###

Lifted from ecomelec



3 09 2009

by: Lycar Flores (Written in 2007)

It is a fact that voting is a right.  As a citizen of the Philippines, each of us is given the right to vote.  But the question that we all must answer is:  What is really the importance of voting?

Since voting is a right, attached to it is a responsibility.  It is our responsibility to use our right to create an avenue to make reforms and changes in our government and in our society.  Through voting, we show our interest and participation on the various actions that we can all do to help our country and people.  It is said that people, most especially the youth, are attacked by a virus—the virus of hopelessness.  Most individuals already lost hope that our country still has the chance of restoring and rebuilding its greatness and richness.  And we can only attacked this spreading and epidemic virus by creating an antidote through the formation of another virus—the virus of hope.  We should not only hope.  We must exert efforts in making the things we hope for possible.  A way of making our dreams and hopes come to reality is by choosing the right leaders for our country.  One may ask: right leaders?  Do they exist?  This is a difficult question… But how will we progress if we already distrust the people who volunteered themselves for service?  We should always bear in mind that nobody is perfect.  People, particularly our leaders, are also tempted, and in totality they are also sinners like us.

Trust is very important in running a government and a country.  Trust is not gained by a snap of a finger.  It is something that is build as we work together.  But how would we build something that is not there?  What I’m trying to drive is this:  we have to trust our leaders and at the same time be watch dogs of their actions towards change and the like.  We were the ones who chose them, so we also have the right to change them.  But how can we actually do this if we don’t participate in the selection process of these leaders?

The Philippines has been known for its very famous EDSA revolutions… But do we really know the true essence of this popular event?  I bet many of those people who participated in the said event are those people who didn’t even exercise their right to vote.  I believed that this is one of the things that we have to reflect on as people and as citizens of the Philippines.  We usually call for rallies and the like whenever we feel dissatisfied with what our leaders and the government are doing without even realizing if we really took part on the entire process of choosing the leaders of our country.  We keep on complaining without even realizing if we have the right to complain…  I believed that those who have the right to complain are those people who participated or have shown their interest in our quest for nation building.  One manifestation of this is by exercising your right to vote.

The things I pointed out may be ironic, but that’s how I see things with regards to the right to suffrage issue.  So, I encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote.  Voting is the true strength of people power.  At the end of the day, it’s not just about being right or wrong in choosing the leaders for our country; it’s about knowing deep within you if the flame and passion of hope that our country would rise up again is still burning in your hearts.

***Lycar is the former chairperson of Siliman University’s University Student Council, the current Vice-Chairperson for Visayas of Student Council Alliance of the Philippines and she was recently hailed as one of the Ten Oustanding Students of the Philippines.

To Vote or Not to Vote

3 09 2009

by Tobit Cruz

“Tara pare, parehistro tayo!”

“Kayo na lang dude, busy ako eh.”

One of these two characters would be you. Before you make a final declaration of who are you among the two, better think a thousand times and from then you’ll have the right to choose. But first let’s continue their story.

“Pare, mas busy na tayo next week! Midterms na kaya natin. Sabi nga, the best day is TODAY!”

“Dude, we still have next week, and next next week! Up to October 31 pa naman ang reg [registration]! Kailangan ko mag focus sa assignment ko..”

Well then, guy number 2 has a point. As a student, we need to prioritize our studies more than registration and voting. To think of it we won’t be scolded by our parents if we do not register, compared if we do not do our assignments. Besides, we won’t be graded by our professors if we do register.

“ U**L! Kailan ka pa nagseryoso sa pag aaral mo? Haha.. Hindi mo naman siguro 24 hours gagawin yang assignment mo ‘di ba? ‘tol mamaya mo na yan gawin sayang yung satellite registration sa SM..”

“Pwede pa naman sa munisipyo next time. Dude di rin ako pwede mamaya. May date kasi kami ni Badette.  Bakit ba ang kulit mo? Tatakbo ka ba sa 2010?!..”

If you were to choose between your girlfriend and registration, what would you choose? With your girl, you could just chillax at the mall, holding hands while walking.  At the registration site, you have to queue up for hours. That is indeed boring.

“T*do! Hindi ‘no! gusto ko lang ma-experience bumoto sa 2010.”

“What for dude? E pare pareho lang naman ang mananalo. Tignan mo ‘yang Mayor natin, kahit walang nagagawa nanalo pa rin.”

The second statement may sound cynical but in reality, it is becoming real. Same faces, same speeches, same platforms, same old ways of cheating. It is our POLITICS, it is our culture, it is our way of life– it is US. As Aristotle once said, man is a political animal by nature. We could not exclude ourselves in the world of politics because whatever we do affects it and whatever affects it will surely affect us. If we choose to be static and cynical like most of the population we let the negative things as it is. So there are no excuses.

“Pare, kaya nga tayo boboto eh. Para mataanggal na yang mga trapo na yan!”

“Asa ka pa! Sige na, marami pa kong gagawin. Next time na lang ‘tol.”

A lot of us would be guy number two with an attitude caught between procrastination and wrong prioritization. Good academic standing, healthy relationships, happy family, bright future, all of these are our priorities but do we not think of what could happen will all these if we continue to vote for the wrong person? Or worse, if we do not vote at all and waste our right. We may not be graded by doing some action for our country, but every action we will do will surely pay off and it’s not just in a form of numbers. We may not be graded by registering and voting, but what’s the point of getting good grades if there is no opportunity that awaits you because of wrong leadership? If there is no clear future for your aspirations and dreams? It feels much better when you know you did the right thing, than the feeling of great regret when you know you could have done it but you simply don’t. Let’s put an end to the endearing cynicism in our hearts. Let our desire for a positive change rule over our apathy. Let us begin it NOW.

***Tobit is a student of San Beda Collge, an SK leader and an FTV volunteer.


3 09 2009

Ana Gella Tejida – Opong (FTV Iloilo)

(first published August 28, 2009)

In a country where a youth’s ideals are commonly regarded as immature and impractical, how do we fight for our beliefs? If society looks upon us as a minority, how can we be empowered?

A group of young volunteers are trying to answer these questions through the First Time Voters (FTV) Network, a non-partisan organization established in Metro Manila by the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), Akbayan Youth, Movement for the Advancement of Student Power, Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Kabataan sa Komunidad, et. al. last 2001. In June of the present year, FTV – Iloilo was launched here in Iloilo as an effort to nationalize the movement of encouraging their fellow youth to register and exercise their rights to suffrage. An organization who utilizes the intricate connection of different student organizations from various schools within the city, FTV – Iloilo serves as an avenue for the youth’s collective ideals and principles. With the organization’s diverse set of members, the youth has become more well – rounded and is more well-informed of the pressing political issues.

27.6 million voters, aging from 18 -34, for the 2010 elections belong to the youth sector while COMELEC expects 9 million of them to be coming from the first time voters. Iloilo, which holds the most number of baranggays in the Visayas, holds a crucial part of the electorate. While most of the older generations have already registered for the previous elections, COMELEC is still expecting an estimate of 155,000 new registrants coming from the youth sector. And with the registration deadline looming just around the corner two months from now, FTV volunteers are doubling their efforts in disseminating the information to their fellow youth in all corners of the province.

With a hectic schedule for the next couple of months, FTV will jumpstart their series of events with a concert and food fair entitled, ROCK.ROLL.REGISTER., on Saturday, August 29, 2009 at the Riverside, Boardwalk. An event made possible by the spirit of volunteerism among participating organizations, ROCK.ROLL.REGISTER is a celebration of FTV’s role encouraging the young voters to register and vote responsibly while taking seriously their role as the integral part of the electorate, as they are deemed to be the sector which will decide the future leaders of our country.

Our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, may have been prophesying the 2010 Elections when he so famously said, “Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.” That line has never been more true than it is now.

Pledging for Change

3 09 2009

By PIETROS VAL PATRICIO FTV Iloilo (first published August 28, 2009)

One of the main reasons that prompted me to never give up and work for what is good for this country is the constant belief that there will always be hope for change and opportunity in this country. After many years of living in Iloilo as a campus journalist and political science student, it became clearer to me more than ever before that the great responsibilities given to me were actually meant for a greater purpose and reason; that my burning passion to write could indeed be utilized for a much greater cause. It has also come to my consciousness in recent years that with my freedom of speech, I have been given the right to advocate and communicate my ideas to the masses.

As the election period is fast approaching, our country is once again about to face new challenges and crossroads. A new set of political leaders are going to begin a new era of governance and assume power over these sovereign islands. With the 18-34 age voting bracket making up the largest segment of voters in the country, it is clearly evident to us that the future of this country indeed lies in the hands of the youth. And in order for these democratic election practices to realize and take effect in our society, we need to communicate with these young voters in order for them to fully understand their crucial role in these upcoming 2010 elections. In 2010, an estimated 27.6 million young voters aged 18-34 years old will take to the polls, of which nine million of these are first time voters that can be located in schools and barangays.

In this modern time of globalization, I also realized that our generation today has been given the chance to decide what we want to do with our country, whether to build this nation or throw everything away. When I came across the First Time Voters (FTV) project during the launching of its Iloilo chapter earlier this year, I knew that this NGO was up to something big. As an independent networking and education program, I have been engaged in meeting up with young leaders from various student organizations all over the city for the purpose of creating a massive registration awareness campaign and political education for first time voters. Through the several TV appearances and press releases I have participated in, I was able to share my thoughts and aspirations of developing a new generation of responsible voters who consciously exercise their right to suffrage in determining the future of the their country.

Here in Iloilo, FTV will be hosting the Rock. Roll. Register. Concert and Food Fair this Saturday on August 29 at the Riverside Boardwalk where there will also be live bands, a fashion show by young local designers, street painting and dancing events as well as free henna tattoos and games with prices for registered first time voters during the event. The Food Fair will be starting at 6:00 PM followed by a concert kick off at 8:00 PM. Participants are requested to bring their Voter’s ID’s or COMELEC registration receipts to get discounts and freebies from participating institutions. Admission is free.

Looking at our present political culture where bribery and patronage politics reign supreme, I am proud to proclaim that I have joined a movement that strives to change this kind of traditional behavior. With its main goal of mobilizing first time voters to select their leaders not based on their wealth, fame and power but on the basis of their platforms and reform agendas, FTV is now on its 8th year with an ever-increasing nationwide alliance of young responsible voters. I am indeed very happy that organizations like these in our country exist, that the crisis of this generation’s continuing ignorance of political processes and hostage to excessive vote buying is being addressed.

***Piet is a 4th year AB Political Science Student in University of San Agustin, Iloilo City. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of The Augustinian Mirror, the official university publication of USA.