Over 1,000 students from the Fr. Saturnino Urios University in Butuan City joined the Mindanao launch of Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo’s Halalan 2019 election campaign carrying the theme “Ipanalo: Boses ng Pilipino.”
In a bid to touch base with Bayan Patrollers nationwide, BMPM brought the event to Butuan City so students and teachers alike can spend an entire day learning about their role in the midterm elections on May 13.
BMPM teamed up with the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) regional office in Caraga for a talk on voter education.
COMELEC Caraga Regional Director Rey Sumalipao reminded students that with their right to vote comes a responsibility to maintain honest elections.
“You must assume responsibilities not only as voters but also as vanguards, as watchers [of elections],” said Sumalipao.
ABS-CBN News reporter Kori Quintos also urged students to help their communities by reporting on election issues using their smartphones.
“Puwede mong gamitin ang cellphone mo, halimbawa may nakita kang maling ginagawa ng kandidato,” Quintos said. “Pero dapat siyempre safety first.”
(You can use your cellphones, for example you saw a candidate doing wrong. But of course, safety first.)
Freshman communication major Ann Mae Monique Jongco said the lectures really hit home.
“To be honest po I felt ashamed a little bit,” Jongco said. “Nahihiya ako dahil alam ko na may nakikita ako pero wala akong ginagawa.”
(I am ashamed because I know I see wrongdoing but I do nothing.)
Jongco said she has hesitated to report about early campaigning for fear of her safety.
“Magpapakain sila ‘tas kasabay na d'yan 'yung kampanya pero wala pa 'yung campaign period. Ang saklap pa nun, nasa kabilang kanto lang pero wala akong ginawa.”
(They will give free food and then campaign at the same time even if it was not yet the campaign period. The sad part is I was just on the other street and I did nothing.)
After learning how to send reports to BMPM, Jongco said she is determined to do her part to maintain an honest election. “Finally, magagawan ko ng paraan ang pagiging guilty ko (I can do something about my guilt),” she said.
BMPM Head Rowena Paraan said young people who often profess love for country can set an example by being diligent voters and serving as citizen journalists.
“Mahalin natin ang ating bayan. Ipakita natin sa pamamagitan ng pagpapatrol sa halalan,” she said.
(Let us love our country. Let us show that by becoming patrollers in these elections.)
Paraan also said the youth who are constantly spending their time on social media can use it as a force for good.
“Ang kailangan natin sa eleksyon na ‘to ay fact-checking,” she said.
(What we need these elections is fact-checking.)
She encouraged the youth to check different sources or websites when seeing a news article on social media, or by simply not sharing posts they haven’t read yet.
Aside from lectures, the program also featured games with an election twist like Crash the Clans.
Inspired by the local game Tumbang Preso, students threw slippers to “crash” a tower of “political clans” made up of tin cans.
In the game “Bayan Patroller Went to Cover,” students had to identify what items they should bring to cover a news event.
BMPM also held an Election Reporting Workshop tackling issues of campaign finance, election laws and campaign spins.