Youth volunteers join forces for Santiago presidential bid

Patty Pasion
Youth volunteers join forces for Santiago presidential bid
'Youth for Miriam' is said to have at least 5,000 members nationwide

MANILA, Philippines – “Sugod lang tayo ng sugod. Ang mahihina ang IQ, hihinto rin ‘yan.” (Let us continue asserting ourselves and fighting. Those with low IQs will eventually stop.) 

This was how presidential candidate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago reached out to her young supporters on Sunday, February 14, during the launch of the “Youth for Miriam” group.

According to youth volunteer Vincent Agustin, their group has at least 5,000 members across the country. 

“There is no end to infinite creativity of the minds of young people,” Santiago told hundreds gathered at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. “You and I must join forces and show them the strength of the Filipino people.”

The senator also thanked the youth movement, saying their efforts would be a big help.

Based on the Commission on Elections’ latest tally, there are about 20 million Filipinos aged 18 to 35 years old registered for the 2016 elections. The youth make up 37% of the electorate.

Santiago, who is faring badly in pre-election surveys, previously said she would focus on wooing the youth sector by delivering speeches in various universities. 

Unlike other contenders in the presidential race, the senator has been less active in visiting provinces. Some attribute this to her unstable health

Santiago’s Senate slate 

Aside from the launch of Santiago’s volunteer movement, the stage was also opened for the formal introduction of the Santiago-Marcos tandem’s senatorial candidates. 

Out of their 10 Senate bets, only 4 attended the proclamation: former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Dionisio Santiago, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, migrant workers advocate Susan Ople and Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno. Some members of the slate who were unable to attend were represented by family members.  (READ: LP and UNA senatorial bets join Santiago-Marcos slate

SENATE SLATE. Presidential and vice presidential candidates Miriam Defensor Santiago and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr formally announce their senatorial slate on Sunday, February 14, 2016. Photo by Jasmin Dulay/Rappler

The candidates or their representatives presented key priorities before Santiago-Marcos supporters. Based on their brief speeches, their areas of focus are:

  • Dionisio Santiago – civil safety and security 
  • Martin Romualdez – additional budget for state universities and colleges 
  • Susan Ople – building medical centers for overseas Filipino workers 
  • Isko Moreno – education and combating malnutrition in schools 
  • Jericho Petilla – cheaper electricity 
  • Francis Tolentino – health insurance for students and quick disaster recovery program 
  • Joel Villanueva – providing 9 million jobs 

Senatorial candidates Manny Pacquiao, Edu Manzano, and Ralph Recto did not attend Sunday’s launch. – Rappler.com

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.