Why the youth should register to vote in 2016

Faye S. Travilla

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Why the youth should register to vote in 2016
'I am challenging fellow young people to heed the call and hit their local Commission on Elections registration booths to register to vote'

I often hear people referring to the youth as the fountain of idealism. The word often has negative connotations like immaturity, lack of experience, and rebellion. As a young person myself, I have been told countless of time to “wait until I become.”  Taking it as a challenge, I delved deeper into the real essence of youth.

At its core, youth is a state of mind. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, the genuineness of emotions. Whatever age we are in, there is in everyone’s heart, the childlike wonder, the constant looking forward for what is to come. A young soul sees the joy and game of life and daring challenge of events. Like what we saw in movies like Harry Potter, youth means constantly choosing bravery over timidity, of yearning for adventure over love of ease. In the end, it was the youth who overthrew Voldemort in Hogwarts. And I believe this is also the case for our nation.

 Our power, our vote

Plato once wrote, “He who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by one who is worse than himself.” As frustrating and exasperating government and politics can be, they are necessary, and they are often forces that can be used for good. Whether we respect our government or not, we ask officials to play vital roles in our lives. We ask the government to provide us with peace and order, infrastructures like schools, bridges and airports, an economic climate for prosperity, protection for our workers and environment, education, healthcare and rights to free speech.

At some point in my life, I lost this essence of being young. It was right after I experienced working with people whose political creed is only to reign, not to serve, where those who hold power are only after protecting the interest of the few. The art of making riveting stories to deflect the people from discerning the truth, and lying for political and financial gains are considered typical and even secretly praised. 

The experience left me believing that no matter what good I do, nothing will change. But then, I came into medical school, where most of the students have a genuine desire to help people. I’ve seen how they forego sleep, time for family and self, and even financial rewards just so they can obtain proficiency to help the sick, and to alleviate others’ suffering. I used to ask them why they do this despite the difficulties and the inadequacies our state-funded hospitals bring and they answered, ‘If not us, then who will help these people?’”

It was there that I realized all is not lost. Our generation is in a battle against powers-that-be and most of all, apathy. Our greatest enemy is our own indifference to the things that go on around us. I realized that in this battle, the side I choose is the side that makes positive changes possible. I realized at some point, that we need more leaders and politicians who have genuine concern for our nation’s plight in our government if we hope to create a nation that we could be proud to call ours.

One of the ways that we can ensure this happens is if we participate in elections.

Rock the vote

Now that the 2016 election is fast approaching, I hope that we will all use our right to suffrage wisely. On May 14, 2015, the National Youth Commission launched its “ROCK THE VOTE: Isang Milyong Boto, Kumilos sa Pagbabago” in UP Diliman in Quezon City as part of its campaign for voters’ registration to hit the one million mark to accomplish the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) target of 3 million new voters by 2016.

Registration is only the initial phase of this campaign.

After October, the youth will be engaged in voters’ education across the country. As Chairperson Gio Tingson said, “Young people have the capacity of engaging the government and can be agents of change … encouraging them to register and vote is no longer just the responsibility of Comelec. Everybody has a role to play”.

With only less than a year left before May 2016 elections and 5 months before the deadline for voters’ registration, Rock the Vote will hold registration drives in key locations nationwide.

To expedite the registration process, the Comelec also launched its online platform where first-time voters can register. iRehistro is available for the National Capital Region and the Cordillera Administrative Region. The deadline for registration, be it manual or online, is on October 31, 2015.

Integrating the youth to the electoral process is vital for democracy to work. Suffusing our pool of voters with idealistic individuals capable of critical thinking can significantly change the outcome of the polls.

“The history of Philippine Elections is the chronicle of the youth’s participation in the electoral process. We need to equip our young voters if we want to create a better political landscape for our nation,” said NYC Commissioner JP Penol.

I am challenging fellow young people to heed the call and to hit their local Comelec registration booths to register. If Harry Potter and his friends got their wand to cast spells in defense against the dark forces, then we have our registration to cast our votes. – Rappler.com 

Faye Travilla is a 22-year-old graduate of the University of the Philippines Manila and one of the Conveners of 10thNational Youth Parliament under the National Youth Commission.


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