By By Pablo A. Tariman
THE YOUNG AND THE COMING ELECTIONS
posted 5-May-2019  ·  
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Jorge V. Sarmiento with young islanders.

With just twenty days away before the elections, one remains optimistic reason and fortitude will prevail.

As always, I like hearing from the young and what they expect from this coming election.

Alea Rejuso from Masbate said she comes from another island province where election issues revolve around political dynasties and the grim reality of dirty political process. “We the youth cannot just sit back and relax and do nothing. It’s such a waste of time and energy to just observe and do nothing while our future actually depends on the kind of leaders we have. It is about time we assert ourselves in the coming elections. It is also time we give local elections a positive image. There is a lot that the youth can do. But trouble is they have gotten used to the system and they think everything about this country is hopeless. If we assert ourselves, then we can transform hope into something beneficial for the entire country.”

Jeric de Leon from Camarines Sur said it is about time young voters are infused with critical consciousness and realize they can actually change the future of this country into something positive. “We all know that elections bring out the shallow point of view that nothing good can come out of it. We just got used to being helpless and now with more young voters getting involved, it’s time we change the brand of leadership in this country. Only the youth can do that. That we will eventually inherit the mantle of leadership from the old school of leadership is a ray of hope for young Filipinos.”

Nilo Taroy from Catanduanes added there is so much the young voters can do to change the negative perception about local elections. “The truth is if we are empowered and our voices heard as one, change can come. We cannot bring about change by simply watching old breeds of politicians do their thing.”

Another youth leader, Steph Siapno, said what’s ailing the young is succumbing to sheer apathy. “We have to be involved with good projects that will change the old outlook and the way elections are conducted in this country. With around 56 per cent of voters coming from the youth sector, there is a lot we can contribute beyond providing good leadership. We have to provide the link between the old school of leadership and the dynamic brand we can adopt.”

Youth convenors Mary Acobera and Michael Marquez can only agree. “Time and again Jose Rizal has pointed out the youth as being the only hope of the fatherland. It’s time we heed that call by calling on the region’s youth leaders to band together for the common good.”

Noel de Luna of Kusog Bikolandia pointed out it was distinguished islander Jorge V. Sarmiento who told him we have to start with the young and provide hope for everyone in the region. “Jorge (Sarmiento) refuses to grow old. He thinks of the young first before even outlining his plan for the province. He knew he cannot do it alone without the participation of young leaders.”

Sarmiento said he has not lost sight of the vision that change can come with the participation of the youth sector. “It’s sad some of them have lost hope in the future of this country. But the truth is they can actually do something. By empowering them, we give them a chance to participate and be the agents of change themselves.”

A word from the late Tribune columnist and former island trial court judge and bar topnotcher Romulo Atencia has a timely call for post-election healing: “We are not just Liberals and Nacionalistas, or UNA. We are citizens of the Republic of the Philippines and residents of Catanduanes who have mutual needs, concerns and values. It is my hope that we could seek to bring healing into our lives, schools, work places and homes.”


Cesar V. Sarmiento with students.
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