MANILA, Philippines– Less than a week before the elections, youth groups in Iloilo City called on young voters to show their love for the nation by choosing candidates who will push for democracy and human rights in the 2019 elections .
Iloilo youth groups including Dakila Iloilo Collective, Iloilo-based youth movement #AngAkonGusto2019, and Human Rights groups-led electoral initiative Karapat-Dapat emphasized during a press conference on Tuesday, May 7, the impact of the youth vote in the elections through a joint statement. (IN NUMBERS: Registered voters for the May 2019 elections)
“Our history as a nation has shown that we, the youth, have always been in the forefront of the struggle. It is innate in our nature as youth to be critical thinkers. With our youth as our weapon, we have won battles and we will win again,” they said.
The youth vote
“This coming elections, we take our rightful role in nation-building by maximizing our massive impact, in number and in influence, to assert democracy and human rights agenda,” Gadian said.
He reiterated how the Filipino youth should go beyond popularity and name recall, and instead vote for leaders who embody the youth’s ideals for a better Philippines.
Rotaract Club of Iloilo City President Debora Panela, highlighted the importance of the youth vote in the coming polls in determining the future of our country.
“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that we elect a new set of leaders who will truly deliver the change that we want. We believe that this change can only be created in a society that respects, upholds and values the rights, dignity, and freedom of its people,“ she said.
During the conference, the Ilonggo youth also presented their youth agenda for the 2019 midterm elections.
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) introduced the #KarapatDapat campaign to advocate for a ten-point election agenda called #SampuSigurado which reflects the various sectoral demands of grassroots members nationwide.
The agenda included human-rights based governance and protection for human rights defenders; access to justice, accountability and end of impunity; protection for vulnerable sectors; attainment of sustainable and inclusive peace and security; enforcement of a people-centered development program; and protection against foreign aggression and exploitation among others.
Dakila Iloilo Collective member and #KarapatDapat representative Hermz Gacho mentioned that the campaign hopes to persuade national and local candidates to incorporate the ten-point agenda in their platforms.
“We call on the public to demand that candidates adopt this human rights agenda, and to vote for those who do, in order to prevent further erosion of our democratic traditions and processes, and build the future with decent, competent leaders with effective programs,” said Gacho.
Gadian ended the press conference with a call for the youth to vote based on love.
“Amidst adversity, we, young Ilonggos, stand together to brave the challenges of our generation and our future, and dare to love. Let our vote be a vote of love– love of one’s rights, community and country. Our rights as people, like the ones we love most, should always be promoted, protected, and upheld. In love and in freedom, our call is the same: Kung palangga mo, ipakigbato mo (If you love [your country], you will fight for it.),” he said.
The event was a part of #WeTheFuturePH, a Dakila-initiated nonpartisan national movement of Filipino youth across the country who stand up for rights, freedom, and democracy.
Iloilo-based groups such as the Youth Alliance for Sustainable Society, TOSP VICTORS, Ayala Young Leaders Alumni Iloilo Chapter, the Human Rights Club and the Rotaract Club of Iloilo City also showed their soidarity for the call. – Rappler.com
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