Iloilo youth to #TheLeaderIWant: ‘Listen to our stories’
Iloilo youth to #TheLeaderIWant: ‘Listen to our stories’
How do presidential candidates plan to address the practice of political patronage, promote sustainable development, and increase income opportunity in Iloilo?

ILOILO, Philippines – All candidates for the 2016 elections are telling an idealized version of their stories to the public – stories they think will resonate with voters.

This is according to Rappler multimedia manager Patricia Evangelista, who spoke at the #PHVote Challenge: Iloilo’s #TheLeaderIwant forum held at the UP Visayas – Iloilo city campus.

“The idea behind understanding the imagined narratives of imagined presidents is that we’re going to vote for one of them,” Evangelista said. The challenge is to be able to “take the narrative and ask: Where do I belong there? Am I part of that story?”

“An election is a battle for narrative. The point is that we understand that for a very small moment, we have the power to change the story,” Evangelista added.

Stories told by Iloilo youth

Responding to this challenge, panelists and participants of the forum told the stories they knew and raised issues they believed local and national candidates should address.

How will next leaders plan to address the practice of political patronage? How will they promote sustainable development? How will they increase income opportunity in Iloilo? These are just some of the issues candidates should be able to address, according to the Iloilo youth.

“Most of our local issues are deeply rooted in poverty. We have to empower our people by giving them income opportunities,” Janvie Amido added.



According to Rex Marcus Sarabia, while Iloilo is considered as “one of the world’s most livable cities, we still have basic issues like power and water supply.”

He added that the candidates should focus their platforms on addressing power rates, water supply, traffic in booming cities like Iloilo.

Youth’s role

Forum panelists from different youth rganizations agreed that these issues can only be addressed if all take their part, especially in the coming elections.

National Youth Commission Assec Jo Jan Paul Peñol echoed this sentiment, adding that “voting is the most powerful weapon devised by man to combat apathy and social injustice.

Peñol also noted that 30% or around 20 million of the total voting population comes from the youth sector. Peñol then cited previous presidential elections results and said that President Benigno Aquino III won in 2010 with 15 million votes. 

For Peñol, this meant the youth could change the country if they only chose to vote.

“We are living at an exciting time. With the technology, the information around us, we are empowered to do many things,” MovePH Executive Director Rupert Ambil added. 

Freedom from Debt Coalition Iloilo Chapter head and Iloilo lead Mover Ted Ong told Iloilo youth to “think of our nation and what we’ve been through” before casting their ballots on May 9.  – with reports from Raisa Serafica and Russel Patina/

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