MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said she is hoping more young Filipinos would register to vote for the upcoming national elections, stressing the importance of their voices to spark change in the country.
In an interview on Gregorio Larrazabal's YouTube page, Robredo cited the United States national elections last year, as well as the Philippine general elections in 2019, wherein most of her partymates did not crack the Senate's top 12.
"Para sa akin, hindi pwedeng ang kampanya natin, nasa hangin lang, we don't leave it to chance," the Vice President said on the show of Larrazabal, who is a former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman.
(For me, we cannot leave our campaign in the air, waiting for chances.)
She also lamented how many young Filipinos who were at voting age in 2019 were not able to register, as these were the demographics that showed strong support for "Otso Diretso" bets based on campus surveys.
Tapping unregistered voters will also play a crucial role in the upcoming elections, she added.
"Parang naging manhid na yung iba. Wala namang mangyayari, 'isang boto lang naman ako,'" the official noted.
(Some have become numb because they think nothing is happening because of their 'I am just one vote' notion.)
"Kailangan pagtrabahuhan yung maramdaman nila, maramdaman nila how important one vote is... close to heart Otso Diretso... wala ngang nakapasok sa top 12 kasi yung mga estudyanteng bumuboto sa kanila during the surveys, hindi naman bumuboto sa real elections," she explained.
(We have to work hard on what they feel and how important their voice is. For example the Otso Diretso, they did not enter the top 12 because the people who voted them during the surveys did not vote during the actual elections)
Robredo also believes that more Filipinos are more engaged in politics now, most especially the young ones, citing the volunteers for her programs during the pandemic.
This is the reason why she said candidates or volunteer organizations must encourage them to register as voters.
"Yung sa akin, ang aking hope ko talaga nasa young," said Robredo.
(I pin my hope on the young people.)
"The mere fact na ang daming nagvo-volunteer, pinapakita na ang (there are so many people volunteering and this shows) citizen action is alive in the hearts of the young people, we might as well capitalize that and make them realize na they have the power to change the course of our future," she said.
Candidates should also shift to the narrative that a Filipino's vote would directly affect them, according to her.
"Ang isang boto can spell the future for all of us. Sa tingin ko kasi, kailangan ma-translate into very real and simple terms yung what does it take, ano ang epekto sa akin? Ano ang epekto sa akin ng boto ko?" Robredo explained.
(A vote can spell our future. I think their votes should translate into terms such as: how will my vote affect me?)
"Minsan, lalo na pag walang pakialam, parang ang feeling nila, pare-pareho lang naman yan, kahit naman bumoto ako o hindi, pareho naman ang resulta... kaya kung desidido ka."
(Sometimes, those who do not care feel like their votes are just nothing, that their votes won't make a difference. Change could happen if you are decided)
Robredo has yet to clearly pronounce her intent to run in the 2022 elections, though she said she is open to the possibility of running for a national post.
In an interview on ANC last week, Constitutional framer Christian Monsod said that due to daily problems caused by the pandemic, many Filipino voters have felt "disconnected" to "participate in the game" of Philippine politics.
As of April this year, the Comelec recorded 1,588,432 registered first-time voters, still far from the target 4 million by the end of September.
Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo earlier said the poll body might not reach its target of 62-63 million registered voters for the 2022 elections when registration ends on September 30.