For this week's #YouthSpeaks segment, we are featuring international students who registered to vote in the upcoming 2022 Philippine election. What are their thoughts and views? Let's find out!
Just this month, the number of Filipino overseas voters hits record high in Australia. Is this a good indication that people are looking forward to the 2022 elections? We have invited several international students who are registered as overseas voters here in Australia.
Jel Zulueta and Job Sauler did their Masters degree in International Relations and Business Information Systems respectively. Sophia Maranan is currently doing her undergraduate in commerce and law. For these young individuals, they did not opt out from being part of the democratic process of election in the Philippines despite being abroad.
- Australia reached its record high number of overseas voters in 2021
- There is a rise of newly registered voters who are part of the youth age group
- Opinion: registering to vote is not just a right but also a responsibility
Q: Why is voting important
When asked this question, each shared their own insights why this civil right is a must.
Jel begins by saying, “Part yun ng right natin, the right to vote. It legitimises that our political system is functioning - that our democracy lives on and is intact."
Job on the other hand compliments that voting is not just a right but also is a responsibility.
"Once you tuned 18, it also becomes a responsibility. Isa rin siyang responsibilidad na magdidikta sa kahihinatnan ng bansa sa darating na panahon."
Q: Why does one still need to register overseas
Upon migrating in Australia, renewing or registering to vote for the Philippine election is not our usual priority. It only comes when it is election season. More often than not, we tend to neglect to participate with the politics back in the Philippines anymore. For our youth, they find it still relevant.
"You might not be well attuned with what is happening in the Philippines, so what happens there might not be applicable to you. But to counter argue, we still hold our citizenship even we are not there. We are still going to be affected." - said Sophia.
Jel supports this by saying "Hindi porket we are in a better position now, makakalimutan natin yung mga nangangailangan back home. It is not only for you, but for other people. You want others to have the same comfort and development as well."
"Ang boto mo ay hindi lang isang boto. It is not just a count, rather it is your voice. You being a responsible citizen, you voice out your opinion and sentiments by voting." adds Job.
Q: Why are there a lot of new young voters
In the recent reports, there is a good number of new young registered voters. What does it entail? Jel tries to answer this by saying:
"The youth of today are being socially aware na. They are more concerned of what is really happening with the society. That is a good point they are being sensitive enough and they would like to contribute further."
Sophia adds by saying "I think the current generation is using social media as a tool to really share their opinions and highlight what is happening in the Philippines. It allows the youth, young or not, the opportunity to learn about the political system in the Philippines and what they can do."
Q: How to fight fake news
We are living in the age of information and technology, but with it comes misinformation. How will the youth fight fake news especially at the wake of the upcoming election.
Job asserts his opinion by saying "It is good to fact check, but nowadays, you see people are no longer leaning to what is the truth rather what it is for them. They tend to neglect character, what is real or true. Instead na makipagtalo, we just live the life aligned doon sa ating kandidato."
"Personally, I think being critical is important. Be open to listen to others with opposing views but at the same time learning to stand your ground and be firm to what you believe is also important." says Sophia.
Q: How to fix the divide
It is not a secret that Filipinos are somewhat divided when it comes to their political views. In this premise, Job and Jel tries to answer this.
"Filipinos love to use labels. Whether it be dilawan, pink, red or DDS, We are not any of those, at the end of the we are Filipinos. That is the reason we should vote and fight for the Philippines." says Job.
"We are Filipinos and we would like something better for the Philippines. I think it is really good to have a critical mindset to discern who to really vote. Be open to conversations to hear about the sentiments of each and everyone. At the end of the day, embody the leader that you would like to be represented."
Q: What is your message to voters
To wrap it up, we asked these individuals their one-sentence message to voters and future voters alike.
Jel says "You really have to discern on it and vote wisely."
Job adds "Youth voters, tayo ang pag-asa ng bayan."
Sophia advices " Who you vote for is someone who you would actually show your morals and values in life."
#YouthSpeaks is a segment of the SBS Filipino program where we invite youths to speak and share their thoughts, opinions and experiences regarding different topics and issues.
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