By Maria Isabel Gallego and Miguel Angelo Magbag
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has urged the youth to vote in the upcoming 2022 polls as they could “dictate much of the outcome of the elections.”
With young voters accounting for up to 52 percent of the whole voting population, the youth could determine the outcome of the election, said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.
“If the youth can get its act together, it can become a very significant voting bloc,” he said. “Basically, the youth will be able to dictate much of the outcome of the elections as well as the shape of the government to come.”
Speaking at a forum organized earlier this month by the Philippines Communication Society, Jimenez also said youth engagement could put young leaders in the government and could infuse new ideas into public discussion as well as provide the needs of the younger generation.
The higher vote engagement coming from the youth could further provide passage for more youth-centric laws and policies to implement and may change the current generation’s voting concepts.
“If you were to replace the older generation with a new generation that believes differently, that acts differently, that perhaps acts in a more principled manner, then you see a sea-change in the quality of the voting that you see,” he added.
Jeremiah Joaquin of the Philosophical Association of the Philippines said the youth must vote since it is part of their duty and obligation as members of society.
“It is our obligation to vote, as said in the Philippine Constitution, there is a penalty if you don’t vote,” Joaquin said in Filipino.
He also urged young voters to reflect upon which candidates can represent them well and secure the country's welfare.
“You have to analyze first who you want to vote for before you vote Do not impulsively decide just because you live within the same location, you are in the same group, [or] you know the candidate and so on,” Joaquin said.
Louie Ignacio, the president of the Philippine Sociological Society, said different societal institutions have a significant role in shaping the voters’ decision-making in the elections, especially the younger generation.
“They have a huge responsibility to keep youth informed. Today, it is not enough to encourage them to register. It is not enough that they will just vote, they should also vote wisely, they should be informed voters … and they should vote for the candidate that they think fits the position,” Ignacio said.
He, then, advised the youth to keep in mind the acronym “TAMA” in choosing the right candidates for the election—Track record, Advocacy, Morality, and Alay sa Bayan (offering to the nation).
“We should push for qualified candidates, and we should push for people who really have the proper motivation to run the country,” Ignacio added.
The president of Polytechnic University of the Philippines Communication Society, Caroline Picar, said today's youth was aware of societal issues as they have access to information that has developed their sense of awareness and responsibility.
“Just because we’re young does not mean that we are unaware, we are not blinded… Our generation was considered as the forefront advocates and activists for change and we continue to realize that injustices left unchecked will affect us gravely,” she said.