Over decades of Philippine politics, our elections have been characterized by disorder. Cases of violence and fraud have marred the credibility of the single most significant tool of our freedom as a nation. To make matters worse, the repetitive patterns that make for incredulous elections have made the Filipino people lose confidence in the efficacy of our electoral system. Hope seems to be waning as well, as Philippine politics often leave the people at a state of dismay. Even the youth feel disappointed with the whole situation in Philippine politics. As a result, most have grown apathetic to the elections. And, ironically, it is the youth who will be affected most by the electoral turnout as their futures have yet to be determined.
But where majority of the youth have given up, there are still a handful who strive to make a difference in Philippine politics. Today we can see students being more and more involved in their schools, getting people involved and organizing their fellow youth for social mobilization. We see more and more young people take to the streets and make their voices heard. Though today’s youth involvement is but a semblance of that which the world has seen in the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986, this small spark of hope is steadily growing into a blaze of nationalistic prowess.
iVote is one such organization that allows the youth to mobilize and work towards the improvement of the Philippine elections. Through their website ivote.ph, the organization aims to help the Philippine electorate cast a more informed and therefore a more meaningful vote during the elections. For this year’s elections, the said organization provided its audience with a daily news update on the elections, as well as individual profiles of senatorial, congressional, and party list candidates. By simply logging on to the website, voting no longer becomes a matter of who has the most campaign posters or who has the catchiest slogan. Rather, you are given a chance to transcend the highly media-based façade of political campaigns and make more educated decisions in choosing your candidates.
The World Youth Alliance’s declaration on good governance promotes the idea of everyone having the responsibility to get involved in the “building of a free and just society rooted in the intrinsic and inviolable dignity of the human person.” This seems like a daunting task, especially when situated against the background of the governance of our nation. It is in working for iVote, however, that I was opened up to the idea that youth involvement is not limited to going to rallies or being in situations where one has to stake one’s life. On the contrary, I saw that there are countless means by which one can get politically involved and be vigilant, especially with the rapidly growing technology that we have today. In reality, there is virtually no excuse not to get involved in areas of national concern.
As part of the youth, I have to admit that at one point, I have been ruled by the idea that I can not do much. However, over the past few months, I have learned that my youth is not a hindrance. Rather it is a powerful ally. Being youth means that I am at my strongest. Being youth means that I am filled not only with desire and passion, but the capabilities to pursue my goals as well. Being youth means I have time on my side, and that one failure does not spell the end for me. It is my hope that the youth all over the world realize this; YOUTH IS POWER. We already have it. All we have to do is use it.
EC Orlina is an intern at WYA Asia Pacific. He is a Political Science major at the Ateneo de Manila University. EC institutionalized pizza day at the AP office.