1SAMBAYAN launches Ateneo, La Salle chapters to unite youth for #Halalan2022

Despite being popular rivals in university sports, members of the Ateneo and La Salle community unite for the 2022 national elections in the joint virtual launch of the first university chapters of 1SAMBAYAN on August 25, via Facebook Live.

Dubbed as “Dude, Pare, Change: The Ateneo-La Salle Joint Launch,” the event underscored the importance of a unified stance and informed engagement among youth for the upcoming polls next year.

De La Salle University (DLSU) President Br. Armin Luistro FSC called for a temporary ceasefire among Lasallians and Ateneans in choosing the next government leaders, noting that Halalan 2022 could be the most crucial election in the current century.

Tama na muna ‘yang Ateneo, La Salle na awayan. Mahalaga ang ibigay ang ating sarili para sa bayan lalo na para sa eleksyon 2022. Hindi natin dapat payagan na ang mananalo dito ay iyon lamang magpapahirap sa bayan. Kailangan ang manalo ay ang taumbayan,” Luistro said in his opening message.

Meanwhile, prominent political figures from Ateneo and La Salle also graced the virtual launch, with Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Risa Hontiveros, and DLSU College of Law Dean Chel Diokno giving their solidarity messages to the Atenean and Lasallian community.

Kasama niyo akong nanawagan na magkaisa, pero kasabay nito ididiin kong muli: Hindi pwedeng tayo tayo lang ang nag-uusap. […] Kung mas marami tayong nagkakaisa, mas malalim din ang lakas na ating huhugutin upang pandayin ang ating bukas na pinapangarap natin,” said Robredo, one of the coalition’s bets for the presidential race.

What’s in it for the youth in Halalan 2022

In a bid to raise informed engagement for the upcoming elections, the joint launch also featured a roundtable discussion with various political figures across the country. Former Senator Bam Aquino, Former Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, Dinagat Islands Governor Kaka Bag-Ao, and Youth Convener Rae Reposar sat as the discussion’s panelists, who all emphasized the integral role of youth in Halalan 2022.

Aquino called for a united stance among youth voters in electing new government leaders next year, as their decisions will also determine the future of the youth sector in the upcoming years.

Kapag sinasabi po nating management of the country, management of the pandemic, management of the economy, ‘yung competency na kailangan doon, kitang kita po talaga natin na ang kabataan ang pinakanatatamaan,” the former senator shared as he noted the brunt of the pandemic among youth graduates.

With the critical response on the government’s management of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Carpio also stated that “another six years of this kind of leadership” would pose “bad” effects on youth, education, and job security.

“Another six years of this kind of leadership, this kind of administration will really bring us back maybe more than two or three times pre-pandemic levels. We will be the last to emerge to recover, so this 2022 election is very crucial,” the former Chief Justice said.

Youth’s role and responsibility for the elections

As Halalan 2022 draws near, the panelists have reiterated the significance of youth participation, involvement, and responsibility in the upcoming polls.

“The youth will determine this elections […] We need an engaged youth and engaged citizenry,” Aquino said.

On the other hand, Reposar also emphasized the importance of acknowledging one’s privilege in taking a stand for the national elections, noting that Lasallians and Ateneans have the “social responsibility” to use their position in helping other people.

Kung ano ‘yung comfort na tinatamasa mo bilang Atenista, bilang Lasalista, siguro it is justified that you make people experience the same level of comfort you experience (on) being an Atenean and being a Lasallian,” the convener said.

While many students raised concerns on the risks of taking a stance after the consecutive red-tagging cases, the panelists have pointed out the importance of institutions in supporting students in these fights.

For Aquino, schools, institutions, and alumni networks may serve as the students’ “infrastructures” that could help them when their safety is put on the line.

Mahalaga talaga na malinaw sa atin na hindi tayo nag-iisa, na marami tayong pare-pareho ng pananaw, Lasalista man o Atenista, na tayo ay pwedeng magsama sa iisang layunin,” Governor Bag-Ao added when asked how to continue speaking up amid risks.

Expansion of 1SAMBAYAN chapters

With the launch of 1SAMBAYAN university chapters, Reposar shared that there are plans on expanding the coalition’s youth arm not only in school institutions but also in different areas across the country.

In fact, the youth convener mentioned that a 1SAMBAYAN chapter was already established in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP).

“When we ask people to register and when we ask them to vote, hindi po nagtatapos doon. May goal po tayo na i-capacitate natin ‘yung other youth to also empower people to do the same,” Reposar added.

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