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.

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