#AngAkonGusto2019 llonggo youth call for democracy, human rights vote in 2019 polls

YOUTH and Human Rights leaders collectively read the #AngAkonGusto2019 agenda in a press conference on May 7, 2019. (DAKILA photo)

LESS THAN a week before the elections, DAKILA Iloilo Collective, Iloilo-based youth movement #AngAkonGusto2019, and Human Rights groups-led electoral initiative, Karapat-Dapat, called on to the youth to vote for democracy and human rights in the 2019 National Elections during a press conference on May 7, 2019 in Iloilo City.

Formed last March 2019, #AngAkonGusto2019 was initiated by youth leaders coming from different schools in the city as a platform for young Ilonggos to stand and to push for a human rights-framed agenda for the elections and beyond. It is part of #WeTheFuturePH, a DAKILA-initiated nonpartisan national movement of Filipino youth across the country who stand up for rights, freedom, and democracy.

“20 million or ? of the voting population is comprised of us, the youth. This coming elections, we take our rightful role in nation-building by maximizing our massive impact, in number and in influence, to assert democracy and human rights agenda,” DAKILA Iloilo Collective managing director Keneth Gadian said. “This gathering of youth today is our last push before the elections to reiterate to our fellow Filipino youth to cast their votes not based on candidates’ names and popularity, but to vote for leaders who shall embody our struggles and our ideals for a Philippines we deserve.”

Meanwhile, #KarapatDapat: Karapatan Dapat campaign is an initiative by the human rights community, led by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA). It advocates for a ten-point election agenda called #SampuSigurado which reflects the various sectoral demands of grassroots members nationwide. The ten-point agenda signifies that implementing it will certainly lead to real change and a strong democracy.

“The #KarapatDapat campaign appeals on national and local candidates to support the #Sampusigurado by incorporating the ten-point agenda in their platforms. We call on the public to demand that candidates adopt this human rights agenda, and to vote for those who do, in order to prevent further erosion of our democratic traditions and processes, and build the future with decent, competent leaders with effective programs,” DAKILA Iloilo Collective member and #KarapatDapat representative Hermz Gacho said.

#SampuSigurado includes:

  1. human rights-based governance;
  2. compliance with international human rights treaties and instruments;
  3. access to justice, accountability and ending impunity;
  4. protection for vulnerable sectors;
  5. protection for human rights defenders;
  6. attainment of sustainable and inclusive peace and security;
  7. enforcement of food sovereignty, decent livelihood and sustainable housing;
  8. enforcement of laws towards a healthy and safe environment;
  9. enforcement of a people-centered development program; and
  10. protection against foreign aggression and exploitation.

Iloilo-based groups such as the Youth Alliance for Sustainable Society, TOSP VICTORS, Ayala Young Leaders Alumni Iloilo Chapter, the Human Rights Club and the Rotaract Club of Iloilo City were also present to be one with the call.

Rotaract Club of Iloilo City President Debora Panela highlighted the importance of youth vote in the coming polls in determining the future of our country.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that we elect a new set of leaders who will truly deliver the change that we want. We believe that this change can only be created in a society that respects, upholds and values the rights, dignity, and freedom of its people,” she said.

During the conference, the Iloilo youth also presented their stances on the key issues of the locale and their youth agenda for the 2019 midterm elections. They also joined in proclaiming their statement for the coming polls.

“Our history as a nation has shown that we, the youth, have always been in the forefront of the struggle. It is innate in our nature as youth to be critical thinkers -­? to examine the social realities that surround us, to question injustice and oppression, to rebel against the norms, structures and systems that detriment our development as citizens and human beings. With our youth as our weapon, we have won battles and we will win again,” the statement said.

In the end, Gadian challenged the youth to vote rooted in love: “Amidst adversity, we, young Ilonggos, stand together to brave the challenges of our generation and our future, and dare to love. Let our vote be a vote of love — love of one’s rights, community and country. Our rights as people, like the ones we love most, should always be promoted, protected, and upheld. In love and in freedom, our call is the same: Kung palangga mo, ipakigbato mo.”