NAMFREL youth members push holding of BSKE polls on Dec 5

Young members of the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) urged Congress to allow the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) to push through on December 5, 2022, stressing that  

resetting the polls again this year “would push us away from participating in the level of government that is closest to us.” 

Members of NAMFREL from the youth also said that allowing the BSKE to proceed would show that the national leadership prioritizes both national and local development led by elected leaders with a fresh mandate. 

“Community leaders must have authority and legitimacy to devise and carry out policies and programs. These are what us, the youth, and the nation, deserve,” they said in a statement issued on Monday, adding that in a democratic state such as the Philippines, the “will” of the people should always be “heeded in the way they are governed.” 

The BSKE, they said, would allow young voters like them to learn about and realize their crucial role in local communities, and in turn increase our appetite for good governance.  

Once their fellow youth, they added, realize how involvement translates to power, their chosen leaders in turn would realize that they would always be accountable.  

“To deprive us young voters of our opportunity to choose and to serve extinguishes our flaming desire to be involved and to play our role in our communities,” they pointed out.  

They cited Article II, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, which states, “Sovereignty resides with the people and all government authority emanates from them.” 

“People’s participation is first and foremost made through transparent, competitive, inclusive, orderly, free, and fair elections. We believe that electing new leaders is necessary in a democratic country such as ours not only to express our choice, but also as a check and balance to our government,” they said, stressing that a legitimate government is required to ensure long-term economic development, peace, justice and the rule of law.  

Legitimacy, they said, is gained also through elections held regularly and with the characteristics mentioned above. 

They reiterated BSKE must take place as scheduled on December 5, 2022 as they noted that the people surely want their voice to be heard, as may be seen with the number of 1,913,386 new registrants surpassing the original target of 500,000 by the Commission on Elections. 

Likewise, they said the recent Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) reforms have emboldened them and their fellow young people to increase their engagement and participation in governance, especially at the local level. 

“Given that the last elections were held in 2018, hearing and heeding our choice, especially for us first-time SK voters, is overdue,” they said.  

Furthermore, electing a new set of SK leaders will pave the way for potential modification or improvement of, or even entirely new youth programs under a new youth development plan. It is high time for the youth to elect those passionate in governance and in serving the public, who have new and innovative ideas drawn from our experiences in surviving the horrors of the Covid-19 pandemic, they said.  

“Another postponement of the 2022 BSKE will show that the national government shows little to no significance with regard to the youth’s political participation. We young people will again be deprived of the platform to voice out our opinions, a chance to take up space in our community, and most importantly, the opportunity to hone our skills as the succeeding pillars and foundation of our society,” they added.