Writers: Marie Nicole Ingrid Lusterio, Allana Marie Manguerra, Aiah Osano
Editor: Tobey Calayo
Graphics: Sarah Mondoy, Jacklyn Moral, Krystle Labio
Today’s youth understand that civic engagement is a crucial part of being human; their ability and capacity to uproar and demand from the top to fight back against oppression, imperialism, and injustice done by the system and its drivers are characteristic of their generation. Their activism and fulfillment actualize this social, political, and cultural consciousness of societal obligations, one of which is voting; it has been observed in the past months that the youth is loud and proud in participating and campaigning for life-changing leaders in the 2022 National Elections. K Ballesteros (20 August 2020), in an #UsapTayo Article, emphasized the newer generation’s cohort entanglement with current and emerging technologies. This parallel correspondence with social media and online platforms paves the way for the youth to have a chance to join the public forum and combat an ever-growing infection of disinformation and propaganda. The youth are taking the stand for the nation they’ll inherit.
These young hopefuls are actively engaging with politics and other societal issues. With 66 million registered voters among the youth, their significant contribution to making a change and providing a perspective on improving different aspects of life is highly recognized by the Commission of Elections (COMELEC) and poll watchdog Democracy Watch Philippines (DemWatch). As the youth population took the part of 51% in voting, this percentage created a significant impact on the outcome of the election. (Depasupil, 2022).
The promising and optimistic mindset among the youth about the election gained a positive perception about the future. There are various ways that the youth expressed themselves as the members of the society as they made sure that they could be heard and fulfill their role in the country as being the “pag-asa ng bayan”.
The young people are campaigning for good governance and transparency. The youth have great determination, and a dream to serve and care for people’s welfare through the act of volunteerism. This unity among the youth made it possible to help make a better change for the country (Pefianco, 2022).
Online Political Engagement
Members of Generation Z constitute a large user-base on social media. Because of this, there is a lot of information about the politics and government that are uploaded on various platforms. Young people are always online as they engage with the current situation of the society. With the power of technology, these young people are able to learn, not only about the politics and candidates, but also about addressing corruption and the importance of transparency for the country. Through social media, their social awareness increases as the information is more accessible and available because of the internet (Barona, 2022).
Critical and Educational
The surge of social media usage simultaneously arises with misinformation and disinformation. Misinformation is defined erroneous information shared without the awareness that it is false information. Disinformation, on the other hand, is defined as actively promoting erroneous information for some hideous gain (UNESCO, 2021; Business Insider, 2021) To put it simply, it can be described disinformation as a question of intent, where shared information was meant to deceive and is typically political in nature (Tucker, 2018, Chapter 2, p. 11). Due to the threat of disinformation and misinformation, young people are more equipped to be critical thinkers as they fight for the truth and facts. Their role in proliferating veracity indicates honesty, responsibility, and courage as Filipinos.
Filipino Youth’s Hopes and Aspirations
With at least half of the total registered voters being between ages 18-30, these numbers show the youth vote’s considerable weight in the outcome of the elections (Jorge, 2022). The 2022 elections has shown the youth’s intense passion towards volunteering and campaigning for their desired candidates, while speaking up against disinformation that is being spread in social media (Wee, 2022). These can be accredited to their increased interest and engagement about politics and civic awareness, which mirror their desire for change and their hopes for the future. And as the 2022 election draws to a close, these efforts will soon be realized but not without being replaced with questions about what comes after.
Learning from the past election at a Knowledge for Development Community (KDC) event last 2016, the youth were asked about their hopes for the country and their expectations following the post-election period. Major themes like education, employment, environment, and politicians’ engagement with citizens emerged during the discussion, highlighting the lack of accessibility on most of these issues (Garcia, 2016). Similar themes emerged in the responses of the Filipino youth in a recent project by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This project was a collaboration between Youth Co:Lab, and the Citi Foundation in 2021. It shed light on the hopes and aspirations of the young Filipinos (UNDP, 2021 as cited by Pajayon-Bearse, 2022), including the top concerns: 1) Good governance, 2) Post-COVID recovery, and 3) Education. Additionally, it was also mentioned in the report that the youth worries about our warming climate, conflicts and handling of disasters such as typhoons and the current pandemic, and in the accessibility of healthcare and social services.
In summary, the Filipino youth are specifically concerned with matters of good governance in our country, sustainability and inclusion, education, healthcare, and social services, and whether these issues will be given importance by the elected individuals.
We are in a democratic country whose citizens are free to vote for whoever they want to lead. Therefore, we can’t control the outcome. The youth can only do their part. Hence, they must be prepared for whoever wins. They must continue creating awareness, voicing out concerns and being courageous for fellow youths.
For every action, there is an intention. The youth must ask themselves about the most qualified candidates who will help address their most pressing concerns.
- How empowered are the youth of today? What causes the youth to feel empowered in our political climate?
- What do the Filipino youth hope and aspire for in terms of the election outcome?
- How can we continue to empower the youth after the election period? As part of the youth sector, what can we do to support one another and our country?
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