The current repressive political climate has prompted many of us Filipinos to be even more proactive and engaged in political activities and important causes in our society.

Now more than ever, more and more are standing up to fight against the injustices and attacks on the different sectors of our community. As a youth, it is empowering to see fellows who are becoming more socially aware and participative because that means we are not alone in wanting change and doing it.

About two weeks ago, I visited the mall and saw an eager crowd of registrants, most of them are youth, patiently queuing up to the COMELEC registration center. The long hours of waiting did not bother these young people who are zealous in taking the first step in exercising their suffrage.

Voting is one way we can practice our political participation. Article V, Section 1 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution guarantees that regardless of our status in life – whether one is literate or not, even those deprived of liberty but without final conviction – as long as they are at least 18 years of age and a resident of the country for at least a year, then, they have the right to vote. 

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While voting may not completely change the world, it can somehow challenge the status quo, especially if we elect leaders who uphold the right principles and demonstrate competence for the position and responsibilities it bears, instead of those who are products of dynasties, of the elite and ruling classes who run for self-serving interests. 

We’ve had enough of those politicians who give empty promises and those who call themselves leaders when they are only minions of other controlling politicians and nations. In 2016, we all witnessed a man promising before the hundred million Filipinos that “change is coming.” Unfortunately, it was a change we did not expect, and “bad” is an understatement. It was more of a horrifying change throughout those six years.

The 2022 national elections are fast approaching and in no time, we’ll be electing a new set of public servants. Now that another chance is being given to us to decide, let us ensure that we will bring about change that’s better than what was promised. In these days of the uncountable anomalies and deficiencies of the administration, most importantly in its pandemic response, trusting our leaders feels like grasping at straws. It now seems better to rather trust the masses. The ordinary people will have to rely on each other to make sound choices, particularly in the coming elections. 

There are only 25 days left before the end of the COMELEC voter’s registration. As of writing, 149, 456 citizens of Puerto Princesa City have already registered, wherein 30% of which or 44,881 are youth.

The youth has always been active in expressing their opinions and even campaigning for the rightful candidates on social media. Among the youth’s top choices in the last 2019 elections was the opposition slate Otso Diretso. Sadly, the youth’s voices then were not translated into votes because a vast percentage of them were still unregistered.

We don’t want that to happen again. That is why, while a lot of progressive groups carry on the call to #ExtendTheReg for those struck by the pandemic lockdowns, we must also do our part in educating and encouraging more people to take part in this political responsibility we all share.

We need them to not just vote, but of course, vote for the right ones. Our participation as citizens should not stop at voting alone. We have that power in us to create ripples of change if we continue to engage and mobilize with the masses. It is in our hands to shape our country’s nowadays and tomorrow.

From one nation-loving citizen to another, I say, please register and vote wisely.

(You can check the local or national COMELEC website for updates, schedule, and requirements for registration: @comelecppc or Puerto Princesa City Comelec on Facebook and www.comelec.gov.ph)

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is a student-intern reporter of Palawan News and is currently taking up Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies at University of the Philippines Visayas. She covers special reports in tourism, business and other human interest stories. Her interests includes singing, painting, and volunteering in civic organizations like the Girl Scouts of the Philippines.