by Kristia Niña G. Daymiel | October 19, 2023
“Ang kabataan ay ang pag-asa ng bayan.” Cliche, but these eight words by our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, accurately reflect the wonders of the youth as catalysts for a country’s future success.
One thing that makes a nation excel is good leadership. As the campaign period for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) dawns, the youth are yet to bestow “honorable” titles to the ones who deserve them. In light of this, a collaborative effort of the Silliman University Student Government Students’ Rights and Welfare Committee and Socio-Political Committee through the Sugod Silliman initiative held a webinar last Oct. 11 that aimed to enlighten young voters on how to choose who should be shaded in their ballots.
Postponed from its supposed schedule in December 2022, the BSKE will finally be brought to the precincts this Oct. 30, deploying the key role of barangays in the progress of a greater community. Though the smallest administrative district in the government, barangays make significant ripples even on a national scale. This makes the BSKE just as important as national elections. As such, even if they are the youngest among government leaders, those in the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) amplify a great cause by being the voice of the youth, speaking for the progress of the nation, and developing their generation’s political consciousness.
Young leaders like SK candidates wouldn’t have saved a seat for themselves at the table of public service if not for their volunteerism and initiative to lend a hand in nation-building, starting from their respective barangays. But the participation of the youth in political endeavors doesn’t end with youth leaders, because as for ordinary youngsters who have not inked an oath for candidacy, the fight for better governance and a promising future is done with a ballot and pen.
With power vested in our hands, the verdict of who shall lead is for us to write. Thus, our role as youth is to vote wisely. The responsibility to elect leaders to whom we can relay our concerns and uphold the hope of a brighter future lies with us.
From the varying advocacies of candidates to promises made in the heat of the campaign—choosing who to put in position feels like choosing a commander for a big war. It may seem overwhelming, but deciding who to bet on is critical.
DETECT, THEN ELECT
Aiming to inspire young voters to be critical in choosing the right leaders, Sugod Silliman recently led a webinar “YOUth Decide” where guest speakers Earl Guen Padayao, Juris Doctor and Silliman alumni, and Dr. Mark Anthony Salve, Department of Public Administration chairperson both reiterated points on how to choose the right leader.
Unveiling his wits in politics and governance, Padayao combed through context clues that flag doubt against a candidate. Among the aspirants going after SK positions, he said that voters must be wary of those candidates who overstate their credentials, are unclear on their platforms, are tied to the status quo or the current state of social structure or values, those who can’t answer hard questions during the campaign, and—most especially—buy votes.
Critical and vigilant of these traits, Padayao emphasized how we all have the “obligation to be very very articulate about the reform agenda that we want to happen,” which is made possible by partaking in the elections—and, at the most basic level, by voting.
WHY SHOULD WE VOTE?
As youth, our personal and distinct aspirations always tie back to one vertex—a hope for a future that promises prosperity. Putting capable leaders in the right positions can bring that hope to life.
Thus, the importance of casting our votes can never be underestimated. Perhaps misunderstood as young and naive, our innocence does not imply ignorance. In fact, graced by our awareness, our generation today is distant from the status quo, opening a door to start anew in a blank slate undefiled by conventional standards of political practices.
SK officials or not, the youth as part of larger society row the same boat in uplifting the hope of the future. We must understand that, more than just a bet on paper, our ballots can go as far as refining the locality, building the nation, and achieving feats that ensure our tomorrow.