MANILA — To deepen young people’s understanding of the electoral and political processes and eventually lay the foundation for stabilizing Philippine democracy, Senator Francis Pangilinan has filed a bill seeking to include voter education in junior and senior high school curricula.
In Senate Bill 964, junior and senior high school students will be provided information on the right to suffrage, its importance, and the proper exercise.
These students will also be educated on the mechanics of elections and informed about who is eligible to vote; where and how to register; how electors can check the voter lists to ensure they have been duly included; what type of elections are being held; where, when and how to vote; who the candidates are; and how to file complaints.
“Sa pagkakaroon ng mga edukado at responsableng botante at mamamayan, mas maaaring magbago ang sitwasyong pulitikal sa bansa para sa mabuting kinabukasan nating lahat (Having well-informed and responsible voters and citizens would change the country’s political landscape for a better future for all of us),” Pangilinan said.
“Dapat magkaroon ang ating kabataan ng mas malalim na pag-unawa sa proseso hindi lang sa pagpili ng ating mga lider kundi sa mas malawakan at mas pangmatagalang proseso ng nation-building (Our youth should have a deeper understanding not only of the process of choosing our leaders but moreso the wider and more strategic process of nation-building),” he added.
The Department of Education (DepEd) will be tasked to implement the measure. With the help of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), teachers of both junior and senior high schools shall attend seminars and trainings on the electoral system and process. Teachers qualified to teach the subject shall be certified by Comelec.
Pangilinan said this political and electoral reform would also ensure the broadest, significant, and effective participation of Filipino citizens in the electoral and political processes.
“Sa pagkakaroon ng voter education sa school curriculum, mas magiging handa, magkakaroon ng lubos na kaalaman at magiging politically mature at responsableng mga botante at mamamayan ang ating kabataan (Having voter education in the school curriculum, our youth will be well-prepared, well-informed, and become politically mature and responsible voters and citizens),” he said.
“Sabi nga ng ating pambansang bayani na si Jose Rizal: Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan. Balang araw, sila ang pipili ng mga mayor, mambabatas, at presidente. At sila rin ang magiging mayor, mambabatas, at presidente (Our national hero Jose Rizal once said: The youth are the hope of the motherland. Time will come, they will choose the mayors, lawmakers, and even the president. And they themselves would be the mayors, lawmakers, and the president),” Pangilinan said.
The Compulsory Voter Education Act is part of Pangilinan’s legislative bills for the 17th Congress.