With the theme “Elections 2016: Count Me In,” the second Youth-To-Government CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) Forum educated students from different universities across Region IV-A on the upcoming 2016 national elections at the De La Salle University–Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) Alumni Auditorium on January 16.
According to the Youth-to-Government Region IV-A organizing committee president Paula Clareza, the forum aims to raise awareness and to encourage participation among the youth in the 2016 elections through issues-based discussions.
Since the youth represents 50 percent of voters in the country, Cable News Network Legal Adviser Atty. Karen Jimeno urged students to be intellectual voters and to study the issues surrounding the candidates’ positions while choosing reliable sources of information.
The Youth-To-Government CALABARZON Forum is part of a series of elections-focused and region-based forums conducted by AIESEC Philippines across 16 regions in the country. It is also the third project of the Boto Lasalyano campaign organized by the National Elections Program Committee of the University.
The preceding projects of the said campaign include the Milyaheng Pinoy and Voters’ headed by University Student Council Micah Gonzales and the Political Science Program Council, respectively. The event was also held in partnership with the National Youth Commission and Rappler Move.PH as part of its #TheLeaderIWant and #PHVote series.
At least 90 delegates from Adamson University, Batangas State University, Cavite State University–Indang, Colegio de San Juan de Letran Calamba, DLSU-D, Philippine Normal University, University of Perpetual Health System–Laguna, University of the Philippines Los Baños, University of the Philippines–Diliman, and University of Santo Tomas attended the forum.
Status of the Philippines
During the panel discussion, speakers from different government sectors gave talks on the situation of the Philippines in 2015 in terms of education, employment, environment, health, peace, and sustainable development goals.
Independent consultant Ramon Pascual discussed the Philippine inequality and sustainable development goals, while Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Editha Atendido of Department of Education (DepEd) Cavite introduced the Vouchers Program wherein Senior High School (SHS) students have an option in deciding the SHS program relevant to their needs and career path.
Meanwhile, Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) –Cavite Information Officer Forester Judaline Fabro discussed the environmental issues in the country, such as air and water pollution, deforestation, global warming, and storm surges.
On health, Dr. Divina Gracia, Executive Director of the Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare, tackled the expansion of health care services in President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s administration, while Bangsamoro Communications Unit Director Polly Cunanan explained the importance of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in achieving peace in the country.
The forum also featured World Youth Alliance-Asia Pacific Regional Director Mary Imbong, Youth Campaign Reactor Joan Turalde of International Youth Council Pilipinas, and Xavier Peredo of Young Progressive Liberals, who talked about leadership with advocacy.
After the panel discussion, the students participated in adiscussion on how to achieve the type of leadership they want for the youth. The forum ended with the students writing their pledges of their role in the 2016 national elections and then signed their thumbprint using paint on a white tarpaulin.