ONE STRONG VOTE

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.

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