Kiko wants junior, senior high students to learn how to be citizens
MANILA – What is the best way to honor the memory and sacrifice of the martyred Senator Ninoy Aquino? Register to vote, said Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on the late senator’s 36th death anniversary Wednesday.
“Si Ninoy Aquino ay isa sa tunay na magiting na lingkod-bayan sa buong kasaysayan ng ating bansa. Kabilang siya sa iilang tumayo laban sa diktadura. Ang pagpatay sa kanya ay isang mahalagang sandali para sa ating demokrasya. Malaya tayo ngayon dahil sa kanilang sakripisyo (Ninoy Aquino was one of the most exemplar statesmen this country has ever seen. He, and a handful of his colleagues, stood up against dictatorial rule. His assassination was a turning point in our democracy. We are enjoying our freedom now because of their sacrifice),” Pangilinan said of his fraternity brother at the Upsilon Sigma Phi.
“Kaya dapat nating gamitin itong mga karapatang ipinanalo nila para sa atin. At magagawa lang natin ang pumili ng ating mga pinuno kung tayo ay magpapa-rehistro (That’s why we must exercise these hard-won rights. We can only choose our leaders if we register),” he said.
Registration is until September 30.
At least 7 million young people age 18-34 were estimated to not have registered and so were not able to vote in the May 2019 senatorial elections.
“Nanalo ang mga kandidato natin sa Otso Diretso sa mga mock poll sa maraming campuses nationwide. Nanalo sana sila kung nakapag-rehistro ang mga kabataang ito (Our Otso Diretso candidates won in the mock polls in many campuses nationwide. They could’ve won if these young people were able to register),” Pangilinan said.
In relation to this, the senator wants junior and senior high school students, normally 17- and 18-year-olds, to learn “kung paano maging mamamayan, kung paano makilahok sa pagpapanday ng bayan, kung paano magkaroon ng boses, at paano papanagutin ang mga makapangyarihan (what it means to be a citizen, what it means to participate in nation-building, what it means to be empowered, and what it means to hold people accountable).”
He seeks to institutionalize this in Senate Bill 636 or the Compulsory Voter Education Act of 2019 so that young people learn and understand political and electoral processes, and “lay the foundation for revitalizing Philippine democracy.”
“Matibay ang ating paniniwala na nasa kabataan nakasalalay ang tagumpay o pagkabigo sa halalan. Ang kabataan, kapag binigyan ng kaalaman at kakayahan, ay isang mapanuring botante na may kakayahang maghalal ng mga lingkod-bayan na mapagkakatiwalaan, karapat-dapat, at may pananagutan (We believe strongly that the youth vote can make or break elections. An empowered youth is a critical voter, and will be able to elect public leaders that are credible, worthy, and are with accountability),” Pangilinan said.
A champion of youth participation, Pangilinan started his career in public service as councilor of the UP Diliman Student Council in 1985 and was the first to be appointed as UP student regent with voting rights. He previously cited the Ninoy Aquino assassination as a critical point in his political awakening and has since worked in strengthening democracy and empowering the people, particularly farmers and fisher folk.