Thomasians were encouraged to cast “well-informed votes” in the 2016 national elections in a forum titled “Elect Protect: Making Your Vote Count” held Tuesday at the Martyr’s Hall of the Ecclesiastical Faculties.
Office of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Legal Head Atty. Nesrin Cali, who spoke on behalf of Chairman Andres Bautista, said if youth voters would act together and participate in the electoral process actively, “you have it in your hands to choose the next leader of this country for the next six years.”
She also urged them to watch public debates of presidential and vice presidential candidates in order to select deserving leaders.
“During the debates, that’s where you’ll get information on the candidate. You will see how he or she responds to the issues so as much as possible, we want the information about the candidates to be out there.”
Likewise, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) former secretary general Bro. Clifford Sorita and PPCRV Visayas regional coordinator Bro. Romulo Guillermo challenged the youth to participate in the voting as it is their right and responsibility.
Sorita said voting would help people calling for just living conditions.
“We should also hear the cry of the people outside the walls [of the University] because they also [need] our help. And my dear friends, there is one solution to this and we call that suffrage.”
Guillermo added, “Reflect young people. You are our last hope. You can change the votes. You can sway the votes. That’s your power.”
Meanwhile, PPCRV Technical Working Committee member Dr. Arwin Serrano gave youth voters a criteria on choosing the next leaders of the country: character, courage, clean, conscience, and critical.
“Hopefully with the big turnout of the youth vote which is about 30 percent or 40 percent of the voter’s turnout, ang lalabas na mananalo especially in national positions would be talagang magiging masigasig at magiging aktibo sa mga darating na panahon,” Serrano said.
He also challenged students from other universities and colleges to participate in the national elections.
“I hope and pray that not only UST would lead the forefront in terms of leading the way to voting and that the other universities and colleges will follow.” “Hindi tayo dapat followers lang, pag UST, leaders ‘yan,” he added.
A COMELEC estimate showed that 17.5 million votes will come from the youth out of the 54 million registered voters.
The voter education forum was organized by the Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council in collaboration with the citizen-led society group Democracy Watch. F CHRISTIAN DE LANO M. DEIPARINE