SOCIAL MEDIA is now a major platform for expressing political views and promoting causes. However, relying solely on the internet for election-related information is never adequate, even risky.
Young voters need to cut through the clutter of social media and prepare for the coming elections, a crucial event that will shape the direction of the Philippines as it seeks to recover from the pandemic.
After all, their decisions in the polling precincts will likely have a lasting impact on practically every aspect of their life.
How can the youth, especially first-time voters, be election ready?
Know thy political landscape
Legal management junior Claudine Joanna Imperial and communication junior Jose Paulo Ryan Joson said they familiarize themselves with the political landscape through information found in reliable websites.
“They can search on trustable and valid websites such as votepilipinas.com, wherein they tackle everything you need to know about the elections,” Joson said.
Imperial said she usually gets updates from the latest Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announcements. She also reads news from reliable news websites.
Experiences from youth organizations and reminders from professors play a huge role in increasing one’s knowledge about the elections, according to political science senior Therese Marie Ifurung.
“I didn’t find it difficult to prepare on who to vote for this coming election because I am already well-informed about my preferred candidates’ advocacies and work ethics even before they started running for public office,” Ifurung said.
Know thy candidates
Imperial, Joson and Ifurung cited the importance of researching the background and track record of candidates.
Imperial said the educational achievements, charitable works, professional track record, pending legal cases, and personal principles are among the things she consider in choosing the person she will vote.
Joson suggested discussing candidates’ platforms, history and contributions with one’s friends.
Ifurung said she prefers candidates whose platforms are aligned with her political views, such as accessible education, a better healthcare system, end of labor contractualization, and human rights preservation.
A candidate’s mental and emotional capability to handle crises should also be considered as these will determine how leaders face criticism, she added.
Imperial said young voters should understand the roles of political positions and ask the candidates the right questions when they have the opportunity to do so
Know the importance of raising awareness
Ifurung believes citizens have to go beyond educating themselves and that they have the responsibility to empower the masses “to become more politically conscious and active participants in society.”
She said communicating smart voting must begin at home to combat fake news and historical revisionism.
“Fake news does not only originate from dummy accounts or trolls but is apparent within communities, even our own families,” Ifurung added.
Imperial echoed this, noting that one’s choices can have an impact on other people.
Instead of waiting for another three or six years, Imperial imparts: “Your vote does not only determine your future, but it also sets the path that other sectors of the society will be walking upon,” she said. F – S. Z. Argonza