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BOTO Lasalyano, SULONG Pilipino forum emphasizes voters’ awareness for midterm elections

BOTO Lasalyano, SULONG Pilipino, a voters’ awareness forum organized by the Social Transformation through Advocacy and Reform (STAR), the advocacy arm of the Lasallian Community Development Center in partnership with the Office of Vice Chancellor for Academics and Research was conducted today, April 16, at the Ugnayang La Salle with the aim to raise awareness on the inalienable right to suffrage of each student and individual.

The seminar discussed the two major institutions that influenced our election history: the church and the academe. There were also additional input on the necessity of voting for officials seated in Congress; and provincial, city, and municipal candidates during the midterm elections—ultimately playing a vital role in shaping the future of the country.

Responsible voting

On the role of the church in influencing people, Religious Education Department Faculty Dr. Esteban Salibay discussed the “One Good Vote campaign” of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the church-based election watchdog that intends to strengthen the social conscience and be disseminated to the Filipino grassroots in order to combat vote buying and vote selling.

Salibay urged attendees to volunteer for the PPCRV as there is a need for 300,000 volunteers in the upcoming May 13 elections, the volunteers will serve as poll watchers during the entire duration of the midterm elections.

Meanwhile, Social Science Faculty Dr. Jose Aims Rocina tackled the role of the academe in educating the students, advising the students to be mindful of the activities in the field of politics as the trend in vote buying is changing nowadays saying, “The trend now is that you will not be paid to vote, but you will be paid not to vote,” he said.

Rocina also cited a quote from David Cameron, “Without good education, there can be no social justice,” as election knowledge increases the awareness of rights, creates wise voters, and levels the playing field in order to have a credible election.

Right to vote

Meanwhile, PPCRV of the Cavite Chapter Priest-coordinator Rev. Fr. Herald Mart Arenal pointed out the civic duty of each student to vote, “Kung hindi ka bomoto, wala kang karapatang magreklamo,” Arenal said.

Arenal also mentioned equality in voting, as it does not discriminate creed, gender, or race, “To vote signifies equality, kaya sa pagboto, walang mayaman, walang mahirap … lahat pantay-pantay,” he said.

Furthermore, Salibay persuades the students to exercise their right to vote as only half of the registered voting Filipino population participated in the May 2016 elections, despite an 81.95% voter turnout.

BOTO Lasalyano, SULONG Pilipino was attended by DLSU-D freshmen students as they will form part of the electorate this coming midterm elections.