July 17, 2009
Baby Boomers, or those born between 1945 and 1965, but most especially those who grew up in the 1960s, will get a strange kind of feeling, akin to deja vu, when starting today they will see a bus going around Cebu emblazoned with the giant words “Register & Vote.
Since the 1960s, the bus evolved from being a mode of transport to a form of expression or a vehicle to convey a message. It is unclear if the Beatles started it with Magical Mystery Tour. But from that time to the present, people looked to buses for more than just a ride.
Interestingly, however, the “Register & Vote” bus that will be in Cebu will not be seeking out the Baby Boomers. It will seek out the younger generations, in an emphatic drive to court their conscience so they may register and vote, and thus effect meaningful change.
The RV campaign seeks to bring in an estimated five to nine million first-time voters. That number is enough to swing the vote and bring about the changes this country so desperately needs through the peaceful exercise of the right of suffrage.
By 2010, it is said that Filipinos under 35 will make up 54 percent of the population. Up to nine million of them will be first-time voters. But a million first-timers failed to vote in 2007, and if that trend continues, the number will nearly quadruple in 2010.
There are now less than 200 days until registration ends on October 31, yet the Comelec says only 10 percent of first-timers have listed up for the 2010 polls. Thus this novel drive to bring in these voters was born, and the drive needs to be supported, even by Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers, now parents or grandparents, need to tell those who have not listed up to go and do so at the Comelec. The right to vote is a very precious right. It is the essence of democracy and is always the better alternative to change by other, perhaps violent, means.
The RV campaign is supported by various youth groups, led by YouthVotePhilippines, and the First Time Voters Project. Reform advocates like Kiko Pangilinan, Jesse Robredo, Grace Padaca, Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, Neric Acosta, Alex Lacson and others are also pushing it.
Organizers say the bus is a symbol that we are all in this ride together and that the journey to change and reforms is not undertaken by one person alone but by many united in the goal of reaching a common destination, which is a Philippines made better by better Filipinos.
Remember, if the drive succeeds in bring in those five to nine million first-time voters, that will be enough to change the electoral landscape, to change the face of Philippine governance. So go ride the RV bus. Register and vote. You have only up to October 31 to do so.
Read the article in Philippine Star