MANILA— Coalition group 1Sambayan launched its first two university chapters on Wednesday, aiming to boost its presence and engage the youth sector on the runup to the 2022 elections.
The first units at the De La Salle University and the Ateneo de Manila University are student-led initiatives which aimed to "encourage responsible and informed citizen participation," 1Sambayan said in a statement.
During the virtual briefing, 1Sambayan La Salle Spokesperson Niño Lescano from De La Salle Lipa said they want to "immerse" themselves in the experience of ordinary Filipinos.
"This is a form of responsibility to respond to the needs of our country, and a responsibility to be part of nation builders," according to Lescano.
The coalition's spokesperson in Ateneo, Paula Alexis Ando, meanwhile, said the move "is only the beginning" to expand into other universities and colleges despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We plan to branch out [to] many more chapters because we want to be out there, reaching out to every chapter in the Philippines," Ando explained.
The coalition's youth convener Rae Reposar said they have already established chapters in Baguio, Ortigas in Pasig, San Mateo in Rizal, Bicol, and Western Visayas.
The plan, he said, is to create more units nationwide to help 1Sambayan campaign on the ground once it becomes safe. More details will be formally released next week.
1Sambayan aims to field opposition candidates in the 2022 elections.
"Kung kaunti po ang cases, at kung hindi strict 'yung quarantine protocols, they would be able to spread the word for us, 'yung mga chapters na nasa provinces... Because of the chapter building, hindi lang po online or virtual 'yung campaign," Reposar added.
(If the COVID-19 cases are low and if quarantine restrictions are not strict, they would be able to help us spread the word. Through this, 1Sambayan's campaign will not be only held online.)
The launch came days after 1Sambayan's unit in the United States was also created.
1Sambayan convener retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the move is important to tap the youth, which he described as an important sector for the upcoming polls.
"Many of these unregistered voters now are first time voters, the youth, and they would want to participate because this is a very important election where a lot of decisions... issues... will be decided on May 9," said Carpio.
"The youth is a very large sector... If they express their preference... if they register and vote... the youth will act in unison and participate in the elections, they will actually decide who will be the next leaders of the country... The future is in their hands," he added.
The issues of economy, COVID-19 pandemic, and the lack of jobs, which have affected Filipinos, are issues that should be taken into consideration by young people next year, he said.
1Sambayan is led by key political figures and former senior government officials, including former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Carpio, and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario.