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

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