Youth urged: Fight fake news to help voters choose wisely
MANILA, Philippines — Youth leaders called on their peers to be more active in countering fake news and help share reliable information that would let voters make informed choices in the coming elections.
#WeTheBrave, the broad national youth movement representing 600 leaders of over 300 youth groups nationwide, said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the midterm elections could be a modern battlefield where young people might “win the war for a human rights agenda and national sovereignty.”
“We must mobilize our ranks as citizen watchdogs to counter fake news and disinformation, to share accessible and reliable information that will help our citizens critically decide on their vote,” the alliance said in a unity statement.
It also vowed to protect the sanctity and secrecy of the ballot and promote “an election process free from the dictates of guns, goons and gold.”
According to artist-active collective Dakila, the youth make up one-third of the country’s population and comprise 20 million of the 60 million registered Filipino voters.
“Our history as a nation has shown that we, the youth, have always been [at] the forefront of the struggle… to examine social realities… [and] to question injustice and oppression,” it said.
Madelene de Borja and Lesther Balmatero, public administration students of the University of the Philippines, said that young voters could help abolish systems that were detrimental to development, such as political dynasties.
According to Borja, political dynasties persist because under the current electoral system, only candidates with a political machinery could earn a leverage against their opponents.
“And most of them are the incumbents and their alliances. It’s also hard to pass a law against political dynasty when the lawmakers who are supposed to do it are the ones benefiting from the current system,” she said.
While the Constitution prohibits political dynasty, it does not explicitly define the term, she added, saying: “Political dynasty has even permeated the party-list system, where influential families and incumbents form and become representatives of party-lists in vote-rich provinces.”
Wanted: Living heroes
The Center for Women’s Resources, meanwhile, said the country needed “living heroes” in the May elections who were “pro-people, patriotic and would not sell [us out] to any foreign invader.”
In a statement, it urged voters to scrutinize incumbent and aspiring officials’ stand on national sovereignty issues.
“These concerns include the controversial $62-million loan from China to fund the construction of the Chico River Dam which contained an express waiver of sovereign immunity over patrimonial assets in favor of a foreign government and the apparent control of China on West Philippine Sea,” it said.
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