Young voters should ‘voice out the truth for 2022 elections’ ー martial law survivor, youth leaders

Ten days before the end of voter’s registration for the 2022 polls, youth voters are urged to “amplify their voices” against the barrage of efforts to bury martial law atrocities.

“Yung millennials ngayon occupy about 35% of the voting population, so let’s make sure these millennials are registered and qualified to vote. At dyan dapat tayo tumatagos,” said former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commissioner Loretta “Etta” Rosales during a Sept. 20 online press conference organized by 1SAMBAYAN Youth.

(Millennials today occupy about 35% of the voting population, so let’s make sure these millennials are registered and qualified to vote. And that (sector) is where we should be active.)

Rosales, who survived martial law, joined the call for the youth to register and exercise their right to vote in the national elections in May next year. She added that the youth have the power to elect leaders with clean track records, and with an undeniable character as public servants, in light of corruption issues hounding President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: How did Pharmally break procurement requirements in P8.7 billion pandemic contracts with DBM?)

In the 2019 midterm elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) logged a youth voter turnout of 22 million, or about 35% of the total registered voters. This year, COMELEC Director James Jimenez reported that of the 60.64 million registered voters, 31.41 million (52%) are from the 18- to 40-year-old age group.

“Accordingly, nag-suffer na si Duterte. Nag-suffer na yung kanyang top ratings because of this Pharmally issue. But the problem is, kung nagsusuffer yung kanyang ratings, ang beneficiary naman nung kanyang deprivation of votes ay napupunta dito kay [Bongbong] Marcos. So ang kinakailangan, ‘yung dalawang ‘yon ay ma-expose for what they are,” she added. (See Duterte's folly?)

(Accordingly, Duterte’s top ratings have already suffered because of this Pharmally issue. But the problem is while his ratings are suffering, the one who benefits from that deprivation of votes is (Bongbong) Marcos. What we need to do is expose the two of them for what they are.)

Held a day before the 49th anniversary of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s declaration of martial law, the forum titled “Totoo Talks: Martial Law Commemoration Press Conference” shed light on the human rights violations Rosales had experienced during her imprisonment in 1976.

Recalling the electrocution and sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of Philippine Constabulary agents, Rosales lamented: “It was very dehumanizing. They were trying to kill my spirit.”

The youth’s fight against historical revisionism

Rae Reposar, national convenor for 1SAMBAYAN Youth, appealed to celebrities with a massive online platform to avoid furthering the spread of historical mis- and disinformation.

Sa mga celebrities po, sana ‘wag po nating hayaan na gamitin ‘yung influence natin to forward lies, to forward fake news, to forward historical distortion,” urged Reposar, noting that the Supreme Court has already found the Marcoses guilty for amassing ill-gotten wealth.

(To celebrities, I hope that you don’t let your influence be used to forward lies, to forward fake news, to forward historical distortion.)

Reposar prodded the youth and their peers to correct mis- and disinformation that they come across on social media, especially on Facebook, where these have been found to make up a huge chunk of online Marcos propaganda. (See Propaganda web: Pro-Marcos literature, sites, and online disinformation linked)

“I know that a lot of people are saying that Facebook is such a toxic place now because of politics. But I think that’s good. It’s good that a lot of us are taking up space in social media to make sure that people are well informed,” he said, stressing that young voters should not unfriend those who hold different opinions from theirs.

“Let’s not make it an echo chamber. Kailangan marinig nila (They need to hear that). Whether they agree or they don’t agree, they must be able to access what your opinion is,” he added.

National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) President Jandeil Roperos, meanwhile, called on the Department of Education to review the teaching of Philippine history under the basic education curriculum and to give ample time for discussing atrocities under martial rule.

Nakakaapekto talaga [ito] sa kung paano natin tingnan ‘yung nangyayari sa nakaraan at matuto mula sa nakaraan. Mahalaga sa henerasyon na ito na matuto mula sa naging karanasan sa nakaraan at magsisimula ito mismo sa apat na sulok ng ating silid-paaralan,” explained Roperos.

([Our education] affects how we see our past and how we learn from our history. It is important for our generation to learn from the Filipinos’ experiences of the past, and this must start at the four corners of our classrooms.)

“We should learn from our past because we don’t want to once again go through the darkest era of Philippine history,” said Roperos in Filipino.


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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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