Students launch campaign against vote buying

Students launch campaign against vote buying

Fr. Mickey Cardenas

May 10, 2019

Manila, Philippines

In line with the bishops’ call in the Year of the Youth for young people to be committed to the country and to be “willing to share in molding a just and peaceful world”, students in a Metro Manila school launched an online campaign against vote buying.

With a provocative title “Boboto o Bobo ‘To?” (“Will he vote with his mind or just be a fool?”) and a poster that shows an image of two hands, one of which is holding a ballot paper while another is handing out a 500-peso bill, students of PAREF-Northfield in Quezon City want to raise awareness and strongly discourage the practice of vote buying.

Jose Maria Raul Boncan, chief editor of “Fortibus”, Northfield’s official student publication, views this year’s midterm elections as “another opportunity for change through the exercise of Filipinos’ right to choose the leaders and lawmakers of the nation”.

“The campaign calls members of the electorate to remember that suffrage is an invaluable right that many have fought and died for in history,” Boncan said.

“Be smart this May”

For senior high school student Josemaria Calvario, he said that “while we Filipinos are blessed with the freedom to choose the people to govern us, it is unfortunate that scheming politicians undermine this freedom by offering monetary incentives for people to vote for them.”

“Not only is this fraudulent, but this also undermines the unbiased and truthful representation of the Filipino vote,” Calvario said.

Vote buying, according to him, often takes advantage of the widespread poverty that exists among the people and keeps them from freely deciding the candidate who will best represent them and their interests.

“It goes against the democratic principles that the nation is built on and perpetuates the long-standing cycle of corruption that has clouded Philippine politics and impeded human development,” the student leader lamented.

The print ad’s slogan, “Maging Matalino Ngayong Mayo” (Be smart this May), he added, calls on the voters “to remember the power of their vote and to vote smart” on May 13.

#DONTSELLYOURVOTE

As part of the campaign, they also encouraged the PAREF Northfield community to use the hashtag string #DONTSELLYOURVOTE on their election-related social media posts.

In the pastoral letter for the Year of the Youth, the CBCP reminded young people, “Pope Francis challenged you, we also say: ‘So make a mess! But also help in cleaning it up…’”