Sunday, September 14, 2014
MANILA-With the growing dissatisfaction with government and increasing disinterest of the youth to participate in democratic activities, Senator Sonny Angara has called on the youth, as future leaders and decision-makers, to be more active in nation-building to attain a more meaningful democracy in the country.
Angara has filed a resolution calling on the Senate to join the community of nations and parliaments around the world in commemorating the 7th International Day of Democracy (IDD) on Monday with the theme, "Engaging Youth on Democracy."
"This year’s observance of the IDD highlights the crucial role of today’s young people in building a better world. Totoo nga na ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan buhat ng kanilang talento, kakayanan at potensyal. Marapat na sa kanila natin ituro ang mga prinsipyo ng demokrasya na ating pinahahalagahan," the senator said in his sponsorship speech.
At present, we have the largest youth generation in human history with an estimated 1.8 billion youth aged 10 to 24, which is equivalent to a quarter of the world’s population.
In addition, another quarter of the world population is composed of children under the age of 10.
Here in the Philippines, there is a total of 30.4 million Filipino youth aged 15 to 24, which accounted for 31 percent of the total population in 2013.
Based on the April 2014 Labor Force Survey, among the three million unemployed Filipinos, half are from the idle youth.
"Many young people, in reality, are marginalized and deprived of the opportunities that our globalizing world has to offer. As lawmakers, this is an impelling reminder that the need to promote and protect the well-being of our youth is as urgent now as ever," Angara said.
He emphasized the need to continue to work towards universal access to quality education at all levels to provide our youth with the fundamental platform for their participation in the democratic process.
"We have made strides in enacting landmark legislation in education and health. However, we need to pursue more measures that will optimize their physical, mental and emotional health so our young Filipinos will grow into strong contributors to our society," added the lawmaker, who is one of the authors of the Kindergarten law and the Universal Healthcare law.
Angara further noted that the youth's dissatisfaction with government and disinterest in democratic activities, particularly during elections where there is a low turnout among youth voters, can threaten the future of the country's representative democracy.
"As parliamentarians, we should be able to forge a stronger partnership with the Filipino youth if we reach out to them in the language that they understand and respond to, and through their channels. Information and communications technology and the prominence of new media have made it easier for us to gauge and elicit youth opinion on timely issues. We have better access in understanding their needs. We need to imbue among our youth a renewed sense of awareness and enthusiasm to participate in decision-making," said Angara, who is among the most active senators in social media.
He added, "We are called to strengthen our dialogue with the youth by being transparent, sincere and accountable, in order to restore their dwindling faith in our nation’s institutions and dispel their growing dissatisfaction and detachment in the democratic process."