November 30, 2015, 12:50p.m. – PRESIDENTIAL candidates can intensify their engagement with the estimated 22 million registered young voters by offering youth-oriented campaign platforms, panelists said in separate forums last Nov. 25.

In “Campaigns 2016,” organized by the Philippine Youth Congress at SMX Convention Center, panelists stressed that candidates should incorporate political and social issues with the interests of the youth, which is considered the voting majority. 

“One way of [strengthening] youth involvement is by supporting the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Bill,” said Leon Flores III, executive director of Aksyong Kabayanihan para sa Organisadong Pagbabago, a national movement that describes itself as a group of “reform-minded” young people.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez III and Sen. Benigno Aquino IV, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth, authored the SK Reform Bill which carries a prohibition against political dynasties.

Vic Buenaventura of Pilipinas Natin, a volunteer movement seeking to inspire “inner leadership and servanthood,” said the problem with tertiary education was the lack of initiative to teach beyond professionalization and “being employed.”


Power in numbers

The role of the youth in the upcoming national elections was the focus of a forum with national Commission on Elections (Comelec) public information head James Jimenez at the UST Martyr’s Hall. 

“People need to appreciate that elections are not just routines happening [in the country],” Jimenez said. “Elections are a series of decision points in our democratic lives. [Y]ou can either continue what you started or start on an entirely different direction.”

The youth sector, consisting of individuals 18 to 34 years of age, accounts for at most 37 percent of the voting population of the Philippines.Given that President Benigno Aquino III got approximately 15 million votes in the 2010 national elections, Jimenez said the youth sector alone could dictate who would be the next president.

“The youth are more likely to identify the most relevant needs [of the country],” Jimenez told students from the Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy. “Politicians make a lot of campaign promises, [and you have to] expose the emptiness in those words.”

“The Role of the Youth” forum-seminar was organized by the Faculty of Philosophy Students Forum. John Paul Corpuz, Monica M. Hernandez, and Alhex Adrea M. Peralta


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