Latest Stories

Level up and be counted



Princess, 17, has never voted in her life, except perhaps to elect the class president through a show of hands. She had lived through four presidents—Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo and Aquino—numerous senators and congressmen, and thousands of public officials steering the wheel of her country. She has elected none of them.

She is one of the almost 12 million Filipino youth expected to cast their votes in the upcoming elections next year. Like many of her peers, Princess finds herself confused by the maze that is Philippine voting registration. She isn’t even sure if she can register for voting in the upcoming election. She will turn 18 in March, two months before the elections in May.

Princess has to find out soon if she can vote next year, as the deadline for registration looms, October 31. Fortunately, her confusion, shared by 12 million of her peers, has not gone unnoticed. A number of nongovernment organizations are helping people like her navigate through registration.

Youth Vote Philippines has partnered with the National Youth Commission (NYC) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to help promote voter’s registration among the Filipino youth.

“We are now working very closely with the NYC and Comelec to make sure all efforts are aligned. This is for 2013 and 2016,” texted Ching Jorge, lead convener of Youth Vote Philippines.

Princess can register to vote for the next election, according to Ching. “But she has to show proof that she will turn 18 before May.”

At an estimated number of 12 million, first-time voters like Princess could prove to be a game changer in the upcoming midterm elections. Twenty-five-year-old Karl Santinitigan, who mobilizes the youth for Bam Aquino, encourages the youth to vote because it is “our responsibility.”

“No excuses,” said Karl, who also served as president of the Ateneo Loyola Schools Student Council back in 2007.

Not as high

He had been going around the country, and bluntly observed that enthusiasm is not as high as in 2010, when he previously found himself mobilizing the youth for Gawad Kalinga and other social enterprises.

“That’s because it’s a midterm election,” shared Karl. “But those who I have met expect more specific policies and programs from the leaders they want to vote for.”

For Youth Vote Philippines, which advocates for issue-based 2013 elections, this is good news. Ching Jorge advises the Filipino youth to vote for leaders who can follow up on their promises.

“The Filipino youth should vote for leaders who have sincere intentions for the country; who can put the nation’s interests above their own; who can go beyond promises to actual plans and programs that can benefit the people.”

For his part, Karl dispensed this advice to voters in the 2013 elections: “Vote for those who can define specific solutions to our problems and those with enough track record to prove they can follow through with their specific promises.”

There are, of course, enterprising politicians who offer free transportation for first-time voters to register. With a number as critical as 12 million, it comes as no surprise that, like vultures, politicians are eager to introduce themselves to first-time voters in the hope of securing their vote come 2013 elections. Ching Jorge does not see this practice as utterly repugnant, confident of the capacity of voters for discernment.

“It works both ways—I believe voters are a little smarter now. The politician wants to assure himself of votes, but at the same time we increase the number of registered youth,” explained Ching.

“Part of the responsibility of every citizen, youth included, is to make the right decision when choosing our leaders.”

Karl expressed his faith in the Filipino youth, many of whom turned out to support the candidacy of then Sen. Benigno S. Aquino III.

“I have seen young Filipinos do extraordinary things to build their communities, or the lives of people outside their communities. Many young people are volunteering for Gawad Kalinga, launching their own social enterprise, partnering with farmers and fisherfolk, or teaching part-time, and these are just some concrete examples of their contributions to nation-building.”

He challenges them to be more than just the voice for their personal interests.

“Anyone equipped with communication skills or the power to tell a story also carries that responsibility to air the stories of those who cannot.”

During her sem break from college this year, Princess will ride a bus to her home province. She will spend her stay catching up with friends and relatives. Hopefully, one day, while on vacation, she will find herself at the municipal office of the Comelec, eager to register for the first time.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Elections , Youth , Youth Vote Philippines

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. How to enjoy Buntod
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  7. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  8. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Security in place for Obama as police hope for ‘peaceful’ visit
  • Retired SC justice Lorenzo Relova; 98
  • Ligots fight 2nd forfeiture case
  • PH will be partly cloudy in afternoon, evening—Pagasa
  • Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician