Updates on FTV and Kadakila Youth Meet

23 10 2009

Updates! Updates! Updates! Due to logistical concerns, we made some adjustments re Monday youth meet.
Date: 26 October 2009.
NEW Venue: LDP Room, MVP Building, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Schools
Time: 1:00 – 4:00 PM

There will also be a special screening of Paul Soriano’s A Journey Home, on the same day, in ABS-CBN @ 6pm. All those who will attend the youth gathering are also invited to attend the film viewing.
However, please confirm your attendance on both events until tom., Saturday, morning.

RSVP to bianca.lapuz@gmail.com or to ftv.project@gmail.com
Thanks!




First Time Voters Network Welcomes the Extension of Registration hours in COMELEC but…

22 10 2009

Official Press Release

October 22, 2009

The youth group filed its petition last 15 October 2009 in the COMELEC National Office to ask for an extension of the voters registration for one month in areas severely affected by Ondoy and Pepeng [Regions I to III (Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), National Capital Region (NCR) and Rizal province] and for one week in the other remaining regions nationwide.

“We appreciate COMELEC’s move to give more time for the voters’ registration. We just hope that people will come out in numbers to register and we hope that the Commission can handle them,” says FTV spokesperson Helen Joy Paulino.

COMELEC late last year announced that one Data Capturing Machine (DCM) could handle at best, 100 applicants a day. This, they later, clarified was only a way to standardize the results of voters’ registration every day, machine operators  could accept more applicants if they wish to.

DCM’s are used to digitally capture the biometric data of applicants, a requirement in the poll automation next year. There’s at least one DCM per local Election Office.

“COMELEC had intended and promised to give out more data capturing machines several months back to speed up the registration process but for whatever reason the new machines never came and we are just wary over COMELEC’s capacity to facilitate the influx of people in the coming days,” adds Gio Tingson, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines National Spokesperson and Ateneo Sanggunian Chairperson.

The network said that they received some feedbacks from their volunteers on the ground regarding the registration process at present and that the reports were not exactly surprising but were starting to become alarming.

“For instance, our members from Marikina had mentioned that the lines for registration in their COMELEC office were out of order already, there were lots people registering, and obviously the COMELEC staff were outnumbered. We really hope that Typhoon Ramil will not aggravate this predicament which is true not only for Marikina but for other areas as well” says FTV NCR Coordinator, Leandro Perez.

The network had gone out last Friday, 16 October 2009, to give out flyers on voters’ registration to students in Manila, Quezon City and Mandaluyong.

“We are asking students to register this sembreak, it’s very crucial that they recognize the urgency and importance of this matter. Obviously, a lot of young people were inspired to help out in the recent tragedies and we hope that this will translate into a deeper desire to effect change in our overall system of governance and politics,” states Tingson.

The group is continuously encouraging young people to register in the local COMELEC offices until October 31, 2009, the voters’ registration deadline. With several activities lined up in the next 2 weeks, FTV Network hopes to get the most number of young people registered for the May 2010 elections.





A Few Reflections on Ondoy

19 10 2009

First Posted on Facebook at 6:26pm, October 19, 2009

Author is Gio Tingson, Ateneo de Manila Sanggu Chair

The following are some of my reflections written down in my personal journal that my friend urged me to post… [maybe because I had shared this in DS class, I now have the guts give a few of my thoughts] hehe. Everything is in my personal (hand-written- sorry old school talaga haha) entry especially my moment of thank yous to all those who shared their time in any way possible – even if it was not in Ateneo.

Think whatever… haha.

P.S. My never ending thanks to Mrs Anne Candelaria who gave the hard truth of development management

Describing the onslaught that typhoon Ondoy caused, I would say that the prevalent condition of the Filipinos has only been magnified. We face issues of environment, health, security, government, and poverty that we ourselves have put in place. One step in this scenario that we are challenged to do is not just to trace the origins of this major problem but also determine factors that sustain this condition. In a paradoxical sense, what scares me the most and what provides the biggest insight is that as the events unfold, our vulnerabilities are exposed out into the open. Ondoy tells us that there is no social protection for Filipino people, and in our situation, we are deemed helpless most of the time. In circumstances such as a major externality as Ondoy, the only room for action is government. It is the government that should prevent and mitigate such disasters. In moments of crisis, we look to our leaders, especially in local and national positions, whoever they are, and await their response. Not that we will just leave it to them but, because we engage with them as one community. I guess because we could not merely depend on the role that government should be playing – we look at private institutions in which Ateneo is one of.


As a private institution, we cannot fully handle mitigating and preventing disasters. What we can do is to initiate and partner democratic institutions in doing this. On the other hand, what we can actively partake in, and what we are currently experiencing is helping those who are affected cope with the situation. Since the typhoon hit our country, the Ateneo community has been helping in relief operations and is getting ready for the second phase: rehabilitation. The following are observations in our experience with operations:

Power Play

One of the vital points that maximized and derailed our relief operations was that of decision making. In order to do this, we had to manage the power structures moving within us. After our temporary set-up, the students went on a private discussion. We had to know where to position ourselves and the area of our focus – at our hands was a stakeholder analysis table. We mapped out power sources and authorities prevalent in an educational institutional structure so that we can be ready when we moved to operate. We placed major and secondary players in the whole university, analyzed their role by determining strengths and weaknesses, until finally the level of influence they can create in the operations. And as the days progressed, we had to include more stakeholders such as members of Gawad Kalinga, the Armed Forces Reserve and the Philippine National Red Cross. As operations went on, I noticed that the politics of decision making is not just about resources, knowledge and skill but in a community such as Ateneo, there is heavy reliance in authority. Some authority figures slowed down, disrupted, and unmotivated volunteer operations because they asserted their position in the power structure even if their capability is not needed. I can’t help but sometimes listen to the feedback of other students, alumni, and external groups saying that these authorities are in it for PR – “Nagpapalakas, nagpapapansin, diva,” as they put it. But the decision process was not slowed down entirely. I was humbled at many authorities who made flexible the power structure in the Ateneo by giving way for others with the knowledge, skill, and resources to maneuver regardless of age, standing and position. Relief distribution, medical missions and clean-up, was a success because in this particular instance, we valued the quick wins against the long-term implications of assessments.


In the final analysis, I understand that power structures make things move (maybe this is one of the reasons why some teachers had negative reactions to the VP memo. hehe). We have to place big weight on so many factors in a time of crisis putting into mind questions such as – does legal authority with the rational power structure be effective? Or does streamlining the process that pluralizes power become more efficient? Such questions need further thinking over in further experiences.

Tooling

A major frustration that arose was the fact we were not ready for major scale relief operations in the Ateneo – we had to do everything from scratch. As Task Force Ondoy functioned day to day, we could not just rely on our own experience, we needed the advice of many who have been exposed to this type of wide-scale action. From operations management teachers, to doctors, Jesuit brothers and individuals who were greatly exposed in these circumstances such as sir Tatot, Boyet, kuya Edcel and Jerry. Each day was a struggle to be more effective and efficient that is why we had to move and rethink the operations. After Ondoy, it was clear that we had to place into a manual the best practices, and recommendations that took place.

One of the essences of using what we are learning is to share our good experiences by making it replicable. To date, with the help if information design majors, we are now creating a manual for disaster relief operations. We have to be systematic, high in impact and visible – this is what we mean by institutionalizing efforts. Then again, it got me thinking.

Should students be creating a disaster response tool? Where does this come in, where the setting is the school where a traditional concept of disaster response is relief donation and aid? Yes it is true we could apply operations in classes in management, development studies, and the like but why do we need to focus on disaster management? I am not certain where government should intervene but upon further reflection, as students, and Filipinos citizens who are hit by an average of 21 typhoons a year, we must consider this competency in our proper education.

Synthesis

From the moment we examined power structures, to finding the rights tools to maneuver in operations, it was clear that we could not do everything. For example we could not have handled deployment to areas because the Office of Social Concern and Involvement was more knowledgeable. Or finding-out how many faculty and staff were affected by the flood was clearly easier done by the Office of Administrative Services. As a student representative, it is clear that we could not get a full grasp of tasks at hand. This is where systems thinking came in.


As all situations do, we had to respond in a manner that was integrative. The condition only overstated the need that we had to go beyond our comfort zone, circle of influence and control, and our own doing. We geared away from the snapshots of isolated elements and see the beauty of the whole montage. We face the complexity of intertwining structures, interrelated movements, knowledge and many more factors, to exert effort as one, head-on with our deepest problems. We see how the grade school contingent, synchronized their endeavors while the high school diverted all their effort, energy and resources toward centralized operations in the college covered courts. The volunteerism exerted by people during these hard times cannot be claimed by the Sanggunian, the Loyola Schools, or Ateneo. Our experience even exceeds being Filipino – it is an act attributed to the nature of mankind with the Divine.

I am reminded by a phrase shared by father RB Hizon, SJ, when he talked of the challenge of today’s priests, “Before, we [priests] were made to be a synthesis of ministry, but now, our calling is to become a minister of synthesis.” I was moved by this statement as I remembered my experience with Ondoy. This in essence is systems thinking taking place. To be a leader, we are made not to posses all traits and skills in the community but challenged to bring people together and share their competencies in building our nation. And part of the challenge of synthesizing efforts is, making the diverse skills in place, adapt to the changing environment. We had to tweak efforts in order to fit the situation. On the other hand, this also meant that we let others take the lead not by forcing or pushing them to do so but by taking away all the hindrances for them to grow. In this sense, we don’t just learn from others but in one way, there is a chance to define the next leaders when the time comes for the current to step down. In the end, we all come together in the understanding that there is no greater human action than to save a life.

Some Final Thoughts

On the final reflection, I go back to the reality at present – we have a long journey ahead of us. As we ready our organizations and communities for a midterm rehabilitation commitment of three to five years, we must stay with truths such as, for the past decade, the Philippines has been averaging 21 typhoons a year, we must set the expectation that there are downsides to volunteerism (i.e. your car getting a broken window while delivering to evacuation centers), that the institutions we belong to are not equipped with the proper tools to respond to these types of disasters and that as the years have passed, we do not only expose our vulnerabilities, we magnify them. The only thing we can do to any given situation thrown at us is to respond. My experience with Ondoy clarifies how, amidst the chaos, we will always strive for logos – this is the essence of our being. We see in each other a certain hope that is not quantifiable by any tool or success indicator that makes us act, but makes us believe that all our efforts, whatever they may be, are worth doing. We see hope at the core of the human person. And as we gather ourselves, and re-organize to start anew, we bring in a positive agenda for our country.


My optimism is that as we engage people to carry a consciousness of nation-building that learns from its past; an agenda that is not just for our candidates in the national and local elections of 2010, but for institutions such as the family, the school and the industry. This perspective is not something that should be in the consciousness of the government, but also of every Filipino.

With this, we launch Kadakila – a three to five year rehabilitation program that actualizes the spirit of nationalism with media, different universities and other groups… Lets see how the second semester unfolds.





FTV Network and Kadakila Youth Summit!

15 10 2009

To all First Time and Youth Voters, let us all continue helping our brothers and sisters who were severely affected by the recent typhoons. Let us start genuine community building on the ground and hopefully we can encourage more young people to participate meaningfully in our political processes, towards our bigger task of nation building.

Join us on 26 October 2009 from 1pm to 5pm in ABS-CBN Compound for the first youth summit of FTV Network with Kadakila, a movement that seeks to harness the youth’s spirit of volunteerism and bayanihan in times like these.

Dubbed as “Kadakila, Simulan Mo!,” the the FTV and Kadakila youth summit hopes to convene youth leaders from NCR and nearby areas who are willing to walk the extra mile for our fellow Filipinos.

Click HERE to register online!

Limited slots available! Hurry!

Once you have registered online, all you have to do is to wait for our confirmation! We’d like to accommodate as many youth leaders as we can but due to logistical restraints, we are only allowed to accept limited number of reservations.

If your reservation is confirmed, please bring your voters’ slip and a 20.00 php worth of school supplies as donation and registration/entrance fee to the event! [How bad can that be right? Tulong tayo! :)]

Thanks! And we are looking forward to seeing you there, kadakila!


Oh, and by the way, attached also is a formal invitation letter, you may choose to send your slot reservation thru email by scanning and submitting the reply slip to bianca.lapuz@gmail.com and ftv.project@gmail.com.

What are you waiting for?? Register now!-ftv secretariat

kadakila





FTV on Petition to Extend Voters Registration

15 10 2009

Official Press Release

October 15, 2009

Youth network, First Time Voters’ (FTV) Project composed of university and college student councils, youth leaders and socio-civic groups filed its petition in Commission on Elections last today to request an extension of the voters’ registration period.

In the network’s press conference last October 9, 2009 in De La Salle University Manila, youth leaders appealed to (COMELEC) to empathize with the people who were affected by the recent typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng and to accord to them as early Holiday present, the extension of voters’ registration.

In a statement, the group said that the registration turnout during the past months happened to be less than what was expected.

“The data from COMELEC stated that only roughly around 2.5 million people registered out of the 9 million supposed first-time voters,” quips Chichi Tullao, Union of Catholic Student Councils spokesperson and member of FTV.

The petition requests the one week extension of registration in Region IV-A (CALABARZON) except Rizal, Region IV-B (MIMAROPA), Region V (Bicol), and the Visayas and Mindanao regions. It also appeals for a month-long extension in the areas awfully affected by the two calamities, the Regions I to III (Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), National Capital Region (NCR) and Rizal province.

“Our people should be reminded of how crucial the next election is, we should realize that we need capable leaders who can lead us not only in our everyday nation building efforts but also in crises like these , “shares Paula Bianca Lapuz, National Secretary-General of Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, core member of FTV.

“We wish to give typhoon victims and all first time and youth voters the assurance that they can make elected leaders in 2010 accountable to them directly, says Helen Paulino, spokesperson of FTV.

According to FTV, voters’ registration, voters’ education and election give surety that everyone has an equal standing with others, whether rich or poor.

“The Presidential Elections will only happen once in six (6) years. It is therefore encouraged that all qualified Filipinos to vote in May 2010, and they can only do so if they are registered,” adds Paulino.

The First Time Voters’ (FTV) Network is confident that the COMELEC will grant their petition to ensure the enfranchisement of the biggest stakeholders in the 2010 elections, the young people, who will make up close to 60% of next year’s electorate.

“One week or one month will definitely make all the difference, considering that the original registration deadline was December 31, 2009. This will give more time for people to register, of course, and FTV will make sure that it will do its part to encourage more Filipinos to register,” states Lapuz.

“Youth vote is an essential and curious vote. We must be able to help our fellow young people to make informed decisions in 2010, to ensure that their curiosity and idealism will aid in our initiatives for a better politics,” concludes Paulino.





First Time Voters Petition to Extend Voters’ Registration

15 10 2009

100_1648

October 15, 2009

The Honorable Commissioners of the

Commission on Elections

Through:                Hon. Jose A.R. Melo

Chairman

Re:                          Request to extend voters’ registration deadline

Honorable Commissioners:

The First Time Voters (FTV, for brevity) Project is a conglomeration of youth and student organizations with the common goal of raising the political participation and consciousness of first time voters through voters’ education. Since its inception in 2001, it has initiated campaigns and activities in line with this thrust.

In a petition dated 23 September 2008, the network appealed to this Commission to adopt four proposals to make the registration process more accessible to young people, some of which were graciously adopted, to which the network is very much grateful for.

However, the network, through recent COMELEC data, was able to learn that the number of actual new voters as of 31 July 2009 is estimated to be only 1.6 million. This number, if compared with the NSO projection of a rough high estimate of nine million new voters in 2010, is unarguably very small.

100_1649The network, as in its previous petition, upholds the right of the people to register as a precondition to the exercise of the constitutional right to suffrage. Yet, despite the media hype to encourage more young people to register, apparently, a lot of them still have not gone out of their way to do so. This predicament has to be confronted not only by the government but by civil society groups as well. Thus, FTV is tripling its efforts to boost its registration campaign in schools and communities.

This unexpected low registration turnout has been further complicated by the devastation that the typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng have caused. A lot of our fellow Filipinos in the National Capital Region and the Northern Luzon area are still focused on rebuilding their lives after the recent tragedies that hit them.

It is in this context that we, in the FTV Project, propose to extend the registration period in the Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao Regions for another week and in the National Capital Region and Northern Luzon area for another month.

The COMELEC has proven that it is serious in ensuring the enfranchisement of young people in the coming 2010 elections by approving FTV proposals on satellite registration centers, special Saturday registration and by making the registration forms available for download online. In this light, FTV is asking the Commission to take this initiative to one more level by allowing more time for our young people to register especially those who were adversely affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

FTV commits itself to conduct mobilizations of young people in the remaining days of the registration period in all of its chapters nationwide, specifically in Davao City, Davao del Norte, General Santos City, Iligan City, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Manila City, Quezon City, Las Pinas City, Makati City, Rizal Province, Bulacan and other areas which may be tapped by the network.

The network believes that the above stated reasons merit COMELEC’s support and consideration. As the next national election nears, FTV network looks forward to a democratic exercise which will reflect the voice and aspiration of this nation’s new breed of electorate.

We pray for this body’s favorable response.

Sincerely,

Paula Bianca Lapuz

National Coordinator, FTV Project

Secretary General, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines

Executive Director, Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking

Rachel Ann Santos

President, Union of Catholic Student Councils

President, Sanggunian  ng mga Mag-aaral ng Miriam

Debbie Cabanag

Sectoral Representative, National Anti-Poverty Commission Youth and Students

Rechie Tugawin

Coordinator, Generation Peace Network

Liza Dizon

Representative, Philippine Business School of Business Administration

Millicent Pangilinan

De La Salle University Taft,  Manila Student Council

Helen Joy Paulino

Movement for the Advancement of Student Power,

Philippine Normal University Manila

Catherine Calopez

Secretary-General, Philippine Normal University Manila Student Government

Leimira Buenaventura

Adamson LINGAP

Viktor Fontanilla

University of the Philippines Diliman Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran

Beverly Lumbera

University of the Philippines Diliman BUKLOD CSSP

Joseph Sotto Wijesekara

Director of External Affairs, Sangguniang Mag-aaral ng Ateneo

John Tobit E. Cruz

Chairperson, Sangguniang Kabtaan

Angela Abala

University of the Philippines Manila University Student Council

Machris Cabreros

Chairperson, Akbayan Youth

Michael Pamintuan

University of Asia and the Pacific Student Executive Board

Ailee Tejano

Coordinator, FTV Cebu

Gibby Gorres

Coordinator, SCAP Iloilo

Wharson Arguelles

Coordinator, FTV Iloilo

Karen Abellana

Coordinator, FTV Davao

Jan Dacumos

Coordinator, SCAP Northern Luzon





OUR HOLIDAY WISH: A DIRTY THUMB AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT

9 10 2009

Rising above the challenges of the recent tragedies and looking towards beating the October 31 voters’ registration deadline, youth group, First Time Voters Network, will gather today in De LaSalle University, Taft, Manila at 12:30 nn to join Good Citizenship Movement to pledge commitment for moral transformation and to seek one-month extension of voters’ registration.

“The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), together with other socio-civic and religious organizations is serious with an exhaustive campaign to encourage far-flung people from all walks of life to translate their morals and ideals into votes which can symbolize popular democracy and government reform. Though obviously true this is, however, people prioritize “more serious” concerns which were strengthened by the impetus of the current mishaps and agonies unexpectedly faced by them,” states Paula Bianca Lapuz, FTV National Coordinator.

The network said that there is an estimate of 9 million first time voters but it is reported that only 1.6 million of the said number registered in the different cities and municipalities of the country as of July 31, 2009 (COMELEC Data). The deadline for voters’ registration is on 31st of October, 2009. And while the First Time Voters’ Project (FTV) and other institutions extend their efforts to reach out to the farthest of the far, the narrow margin from now to the deadline is not enough to get in touch with those who are still unregistered.

“The wish list for the holidays is actually the most practical of all. This can be the most precious gift the government, through COMELEC, can give,” says Student Council Alliance of the Philippines spokesperson and Ateneo SAnggunian Chair, Gio Tingson.

FTV Network is composed of different youth and student leaders from different parts of the country and is represented by various national youth organizations. The sentiment of the group resonates in their hope to encourage more young people to be more committed to participate in the coming electoral process as this will determine the fate of the nation for another six years.

In the face of calamities in form of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng, and omnipresent social ills in form of corruption, the Filipinos are still looking forward to restore the country from scratch, ,” adds Chichi Tullao, Union of Catholic Student Councils spokesperson.

The holiday wish of the First Time Voters’ Project (FTV) is the extension of voters’ registration to give enough allowance to those whose major concern by now is to rebuild their living condition made uneasy by the aftermath of Ondoy and Pepeng. Also, this is a giant leap to accomplish everything since the maximization of the granted time for registration extension can still persuade and motivate the remaining possibly cynical, misinformed and disenfranchised prospect voters.

The spirit of “bayanihan” is innate in us. This does not stop after the typhoons left many people homeless and problematic. This will extend until voters’ registration, decision, education and election. Bayanihan is precisely the spirit of our Christmas request. When we join together our efforts to ensure a fair, honest and well-represented election to meet a common endpoint, we are ensuring those who are in need that 2010 and beyond is a time to repair our broken wings—for the good.

“WE ARE EXPECTING FOR BONUS DROPS OF INK AS A CHRISTMAS PRESENT. THESE SIGNIFY THE TEARS OF THE DESPERATE HOPEFULS OF A MOVING PHILIPPINES,” concludes Lapuz.