Politics have defined Jessa Dulay’s career. In the last 10 years, she has been working with local and national politicians. The irony is that her voter registration status remains inactive.

According to the 32-year-old party-list staff at the House of Representatives, she has failed to vote in two consecutive regular elections.

Registrants in a satellite voter registration site in a mall in Pasay City. It was earlier announced that voter registration for the May 2022 national and local elections will reopen tomorrow, October 11. The extension will run until October 30.

“I’m registered in the province while I currently live and work in Manila, so I never got the chance to vote. However, I feel like this 2022 election is crucial in determining the future of our country,” Dulay told Y2Z. “This time, I no longer want to waste my privilege as a citizen.”

She is not alone. Across the country, young voters are turning out in historic numbers.

According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the youth now comprises 52 percent of the total registered voters. Of the 60.5 million Filipinos who signed up as of July to vote in the 2022 general elections, 31.4 million are in the 18-40 age group, which is classified as the youth vote.

“The youth can become a very significant voting bloc,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said during the recent press briefing of the extension. “With the extension of voter registration, young voters are poised for another cycle of record turnout.”

Jimenez announced that the voter registration extension begins tomorrow, October 11, and will run until October 30. Registrations will take place from Monday to Friday, no Saturdays, except for the last day (October 30), from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“All registration services offered,” Jimenez said.

Wee hours and long lines

Prior to the extension, Comelec registration offices and satellite sites were lined up with long queues of voter registrants. Some even reported to the venues as early as 2 am.

For instance, Nicolette de Guzman, 24, spent his night outside a mall in Ugong, Pasig, just to make it to the cut-off of 200 registrants per district. Sisters Dixie, 22, and Pia, 18, Fernandez said that it took them four hours to finish their registration in Quezon City. Despite the long queue, they are both “looking forward to taking part in public affairs by exercising [their] rights to vote.”

But not all are rushing to beat the clock. Some registered early, like 23-year-old Mhey Florence Corpuz.

“My family and relatives have always acknowledged the importance of being a voter,” she said. “Being in a space where it’s openly talked about is very encouraging, too.”

The youth’s ideal candidate

Bold, compassionate, transparent, and competitive. These are the qualities that Alanis Manantan, 25, looks for in a political candidate. Meanwhile, Marielle Alcantara, 23, honors sincerity and credibility.

“It is important that we research on their projects and contributions since these also determine if they’ve been doing their jobs,” Alcantara said. “I also look into their platforms and opinions on issues we are facing today, especially those that also affect me.”

Ted Cordero, a 29-year-old journalist, believes that young people need to be engaged in formal political processes.

“When you vote, you have the power to be a catalyst for change. You have the power to elect a candidate who you think can improve our political system. You have the power to decide how the country is run,” he said.

Image courtesy of Nonie Reyes





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