The 2022 elections and the deadline for voter registration are just around the corner. We all know what that means—It is almost time to decide the fate of our country again. It is around this time that the essence of patriotism in our nation should be embodied by those that would be seated by the people of the Philippines.
As citizens of a democratic country, not only is voting our civic duty, but it is also our inherent right to choose those who would be elected into office. Exercising our right to vote is one of the most evident ways of participating in our democracy. These are pretty common sentiments, but what do they really mean? What does it mean for us, the youth, in particular?
The youth as a collective power
As the youth, did you know that we alone have the power to change the dynamics of the elections? We, alone, even have the power to elect a president into power. As a matter of fact, Commission on Elections (COMELEC) data from 2019 shows that 53% of the registered voters at that time were Millennials and Generation Zs, which was 18 million strong.
There is a reason why Dr. Jose Rizal’s words still live up to this day. We, the youth, really are the future’s hope. As a consequence of increased youth activism and social media, we are becoming more politically aware and involved. We are growing to adapt to the needs and fight for the rights of the masses. Our generation has been a witness to the cycles of injustices that we promise to someday break. Our experiences may just be the perfect gauge in choosing who deserves to be elected or removed from their position. In addition to the fact that we make up more than 50% of the voting population, the future of upcoming elections is indeed in our hands.
Why your vote is more important than you think it is
Having an impact on deciding which leaders will someday be responsible for our country is a power that nobody can take away from us. When we elect a leader into office, we transfer a portion of this power to them. These people will be in charge of our economy, international relations, public health, and other critical national policies like education. Once in power, these leaders’ actions will greatly influence issues wherein the masses are affected. Remember, whatever laws they enact do not just last for the duration of their term.
We may be thankful that we have the right to voice out our opinions, however, as the youth, we can only do so much as to advocate for the things we care about. The only way to fight for our advocacies and put them into action is to elect leaders who care about these issues as well. For this reason, we have to make sure that we transfer this power to the right people.
Debunking the common misconception
As much as we want to change the future by electing leaders who truly care for the masses and can effectively address their needs, the first step in exercising our right is to register. The thing that hinders the full potential of the youth’s power to vote is the misconception that we need to be of legal age to register. To shed light on this matter, anyone is qualified to register as a voter as long as they turn 18 on or before May 9, 2022. Those who will not be turning 18 years old on or before said date may still register for the Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Registration during this time of pandemic
As challenging as it may be to register as a voter during this global crisis, it is still important for us to fulfill our civic duties as Filipino citizens. This link provides the requirements and steps you’ll need to know before heading to the COMELEC for registration.
The right to suffrage is something that was fought hard for by our predecessors. It is a privilege that we can freely enjoy these rights in the present. Let us maximize our right, our privilege, our freedom, and our responsibility for the greater good. It is time for us to change this tired, old world. Fighting does not require violence or bloodshed in its wake. The only thing we need in our fight to change the world is our vote.
LAYOUT BY: Quina Zyrhise L. Capane
PHOTO SOURCE(S): Manila Bulletin