By Ben Rosario
The country’s youth were urged on Monday to play a bigger role in helping shape the nation by taking time off from their social media activities and concentrate in the meantime in beating the September 29 deadline for voters’ registration set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the 2019 mid-term elections.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, made the call as he urged unregistered Filipinos, 18 years old and above, to register with Comelec offices in their respective localities before the closing of office hours on Saturday.
“Based on what I see on social media, it is clear that many of our youth have strong opinions on everything, including what is happening in our country. They are not shy about letting everyone know if they do not like a certain government policy, or if they approve of a new government initiative, like free college tuition in our SUCs,” said Nograles, one of the principal authors of Republic Act 10931, or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
“Social media is a great way to make their voices heard, but I believe the youth would make an even greater impact if they make their voices heard through the ballot – and to be able to do this they have to go out and register,”Nograles said.
The 42 year-old lawyer said that Filipino youth “should not underestimate their ability to influence the direction of our country, something they can do with their vote.”
“The most influential figures in our country’s history have one thing in common: all of them were young. For example, Gregorio Del Pilar, or Goyo, was only 22 years old when he gave his life for our country on Tirad Pass,” referring to the national hero that was recently the subject of a popular full-length film.
“Andres Bonifacio was 29 years old when he founded the Katipunan, while Jose Rizal was 26 when Noli Me Tangere was published. What history teaches us is this: Ang kabataan talaga ang nangungna sa pagsusulong ng pagbabago. Wala silang takot, they push forward regardless of the odds or the risks,” explained Nograles.
Nograles said that aside for applying for new registration, qualified voters may also apply for transfer and/or reactivation of voter records, correction of entries or inclusion or reinstatement of records in the voters’ list.
He said new registrants may also coordinate with the Comelec to determine if the poll body has put up in their localities satellite or off-site registration offices where they can list up as new voter.