By Jose Oscar Magpusao
Prominent human rights lawyers addressed the youth about their responsibilities in the upcoming 2022 presidential elections during the Ride The Waves Roundtable Discussion hosted by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) on Friday.
Chair of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) and Founding Dean of the De La Salle University College of Law Atty. Chel Diokno gave his opening remarks about what’s to come in the 2022 presidential elections.
“Ang darating na halalan ay hindi lamang pagpili ng mga political personalities. Sa 2022, mabibigyan kayo ng isang malaking pagkakataon na mamili kung anong klaseng lider ang gusto at kailangan natin dito sa ating minamahal na bayan,” he said.
Diokno then emphasized the importance of the youth’s vote, highlighting the potential of their votes to determine the result of the.
“Nasa inyong kamay na ang kinabukasan natin dahil sa tingin namin ang magiging swing vote dito sa darating na halalan ay ang youth. You will be 40 million strong in May and you will have the power to decide who will be the next leaders of our country.”
Bayan Muna Chairperson Atty. Neri Colmenares also made his statements on the youth’s role during the elections, imploring them to make sure that the incoming administration is one that would respect the rights of others and one that did not support extrajudicial killings.
“We have to make sure na dumadagundung ang mensahe natin, and that message is winning right now. Sabi nila that rallies and forums like these hindi nakakaaffect - it affects. The more forums, rallies, online rallies and whatever action you do, it affects. Why? Because it enlightens people. And among all the sectors in the Philippines, the studentry is one in the best position to enlighten people,” he said.
He further substantiated his point by saying that students are, by nature, very articulate and analytical.
“That’s what you do in school everyday. You have to recite before your professor otherwise singko ka, you analyze problems and provide solutions during exams. Ito ang training niyo,” he continued.
“You are the best people to carry that message. There are a lot of things you can do as students and very important ang roles niyo. I really hope that you act now and participate in any action. You cannot remain neutral. You have to be a part of this because, after all, it is your very future at stake,” he added.