By Leslie J. Batallones
and Ray Chen S. Bahinting
SEVEN SPEAKERS FROM the Commission on Election (COMELEC), academe, government office, and social advocacy groups talked about the leadership needed for 2016 during the “Youth-to-Government” forum last Jan. 16 at the Audio Visual Theater 1.
AIESEC Silliman, a youth organization, organized the forum in Dumaguete to ensure a well-informed electorate and discuss about issues in the Philippines and the leadership Filipinos need.
On the previous presidencies, Victor Emmanuel Enario, an assistant professor from the History-Political Science department, said that tolerating graft and corruption would “repeat the accounts of the past.”
Enario said: “The best lessons that we have are to go back to the past, to learn the lessons of history, and to show that the choices we made have lasting effects. We should learn from the lessons of the past to avoid the problems of the past administration.”
However, Enario said that people should not allow themselves to be “swallowed by the negativity of the past.”
He also added that there are 173 political dynasties in the country.
“Unfortunately, in the Philippines, we are into the politics of name recognition,” Enario said.
With the “repackaging of candidates,” Enario urged voters to be vigilant on how the candidates and politicians present themselves.
Gemma Minda Iso, a social advocate, shared the qualities that a leader must have. She stressed the need for a leader with “concrete solutions to the problems of the country.” According to Iso, voters should look at the specific platforms of candidates.
“Leaders should not specialize on band-aid solutions,” Iso said. Band-aid solutions are temporary solutions that do not deal with a problem’s cause.
Shamah Bulangis, a Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran or SPARK fellow, gave the youth some tips to “make their vote count” this coming May 2016 elections.
Bulangis said that in order to decide who to vote for, the youth must decide on the issues that matter to them and what their stand is over that issue, such as health, education, poverty alleviation, food security, among others.
She added that a voter must check the track records and the stand of the candidate on the issues that matter to him. Knowing the opinion of people who are following the political scene can be helpful.
“The credibility of the people endorsing the candidate also matters,” said Bulangis.
Moreover, Bulangis encouraged the youth to be fearless in questioning the kind of services the government gives.
Other speakers were Lea Sicat, a student leader from St. Paul Dumaguete who talked about student leadership; Atty. Gildu Agoncillo from COMELEC, who presented the importance of taking part in the election and why every citizen should vote; and Muriel Montenegro, a peace advocate who talked about peace and other peace advocacies in the country.~