THE YOUTH should not only participate actively in next year’s elections but should also have a clear heart and conscience when they make the crucial decision of choosing the country’s next leaders, voter education advocates said.
De La Salle University-Dasmariñas Vice Chancellor for Academics and Research Marco Saez urged the youth to be vigilant against any form of “manipulation” from any sector, noting that their values would shape their decisions.
“It’s not only, I think, the mind that we should be mindful of, but we should also be on guard as far as conscience and our hearts. Our value system will determine how we are going to evaluate the situation and the proper actions we will be taking,” Saez said during the ‘Bata, Bata Mulat KNB? The Youth Vote in 2022’ webinar last Sept. 8.
Philippine Sociological Society president Asst. Prof. Louie Benedict Ignacio said the youth should be encouraged to register and vote and should be knowledgeable enough to know who deserves to be elected.
“It is not enough to persuade the majority of the 10 million first-time voters to vote. They should vote wisely and be informed,” he said.
The youth sector or those aged 18 to 40 years old make up the majority or 52 percent of total registered voters, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec). About 31 million out of 60.46 million registered voters belong to the category.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the youth could contribute new ideas and concepts and address new issues that were ignored in the past.
“When you have a lot of youth participants in the electoral system, we can see them infusing new ideas into the discussion. We have a lot of new issues being addressed and concepts that were somehow ignored previously are being brought up now,” Jimenez said.
Renee Louise Co, student regent of the University of the Philippines, said young people are capable of accepting new and progressive ideas since they are not yet bogged down with cynicism.
“When we go into our endeavors, we are equipped with the energy and mindset that things can be better and will be shaped into (something) better,” she said.
This energy and mindset should serve as instruments to lead the country toward a better future, Co added.
Ignacio also cited the importance of political maturity, which refers to a person’s moral, cognitive, and emotional capacity, attributes that are needed to participate in a democracy.
“The goal of institutions is to make sure that the youth are politically mature),” he said.
Ignacio noted that social institutions such as schools, family, and religion, are responsible for educating and keeping people informed. Among these institutions, government agencies, especially the Comelec and the National Youth Commission, have the biggest responsibility since they directly deal with young people, he added.
Ignacio said these institutions should work together to ensure that the youth, especially the first-time voters and registrants, have proper access to information and are critical about the information they consume.
The ‘Bata, Bata Mulat KNB? The Youth Vote in 2022’ webinar was hosted by the Philippines Communication Society in cooperation with the University of the Philippines’ internet TV network TVUP. F – Janis Joplin Moises