Filipino 21-40-year-olds will make up 56% of voters in 2010

Michael Alan Hamlin

Posted on March 8, 2008

Providing they decide to register and vote…

Filipino 21-40-year-olds will make up 56% of the voting-age population in 2010, when the Philippines is scheduled to elect President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s successor. Two members of the non-government organization Young Public Servants (YPS), Jaime Garchitorena or Czarina Medina, cited this statistic at the beginning of a day-long workshop entitled “Youth Vote 2010: Citizenship doesn’t just happen. Step up and take the lead.”

About 70 student council representatives from Metro Manila area universities, representatives of the academe, and other “youth” are attending the workshop (Disclosure: My firm was contracted to help organize the event.). Breakouts on sectoral issus, such as education, the environment, and security are about to wind up. Presentations will follow.

According to its website, YPS “is a group of young dynamic individuals focused on promoting Good Governance and Democratic Citizenship among the youth. YPS believes that these elements are critical in developing a new, focused and dedicated generation of leaders. YPS works to establish the foundations of governance and citizenship not only through activities geared towards nation building but in everyday citizens’ activities as well.”

Youth typically don’t vote as a block. In the Philippines, as in many other countries including the U.S., most youth don’t actually register and vote either, for a number of reasons. Youth in in the Philippines as defined by YPS are a pretty ambivalent group when it comes to politics, apparently feeling as disenfranchised as other voters wondering when the Philippines will get its political act together.

Participants in today’s event, however, are clearly engaged — aside from the fact that they are here on a Saturday morning, the breakout discussions are vigorous. And since this is an influential group of young voters, they are expected to effectively encourage their peers to begin taking the responsibility of electing leaders more seriously. I hope their sincerity holds, and that however they wind up voting, that it results in the election of serious leaders who take the interests of the Philippines as seriously as these workshop participants seem to.

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