Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: May 18, 2021 11:43 AM GMT
Filipinos go to the polls next year to vote for a new president and new lawmakers. (Photo: Unsplash)
A Catholic youth group in the Philippines has pledged to choose leaders who respect democracy and promote life in next year’s national elections.
“In all the things that are happening in society today, one thing is sure — every vote is sacred and must be protected,” the youth ministry of Novaliches Diocese in Manila said in a Facebook post on May 17.
It said the election is an opportunity for young people to bring about social change.
“This [election] is what gives the Filipino people the ability to choose its leaders and in so doing, it is important to be critical of our votes,” the group said.
The youths were responding to a challenge laid down by Bishop Roberto Gaa of Novaliches for youths to register and vote in the 2022 elections. The prelate told them that it was their sacred duty to vote.
“To all young people of Novaliches. Mark May 9, 2022, on your calendar wherein we will choose forthright and outstanding men and women to occupy positions in the executive and legislative branches of government,” Bishop Gaa wrote in a letter also dated May 17.
We have the figures that can change the course of history and politics in this country
“Choosing forthright and outstanding men and women is your participation in nation-building so that your voices may be heard, your concerns may be addressed and your aspirations be made accessible.”
Go out, register and vote — make your choice count, Bishop Gaa added.
Political observers believe the youth vote will be crucial in the upcoming election.
Around 31 percent of the country’s voting population are aged 18-30, according to the Commission on Elections.
The Novaliches youth group promised to cast their votes as a calling to be better Christians.
“We promise that more than 500 youth members here in the diocese will register and vote in the next elections. We will do our solemn duty to the country because we believe there is hope here,” they said.
“We have the figures that can change the course of history and politics in this country. If we want to see change, the answer lies in our hands. Let us go out and vote. Let us not sell our votes,” Rafael Castrence, a Novaliches youth leader, told UCA News.