Comelec Voter’s Registration and Education Program

by rolandotolentino

Speech delivered at UP CMC, December 1, 2011

Chairman Sixto Brillantes, faculty and students, colleagues in the University and in Comelec, friends and guests:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the College of Mass Communication and to serve as a launch pad for this very important voter’s registration project of the COMELEC. The College is especially pleased to serve as the platform for communicating this project to university students, and especially to UP students.

First time registration in other countries is a rite of passage to full citizenship claims: the ability to add individual citizen’s voices to the collective shout out for national transformation. In this country, registering for the first time, and much more, voting for the first time are considered as a chore only to be done when there is nothing else to be done, or better to do. The citizens, especially young citizens, have become skeptical, and more so, to distrust the electoral process. The electoral process has been perceived as becoming of the nation’s own rite of passage to renew disenfranchised factions of the ruling class to be catapulted into the elected class in our society.

But all journeys begin with a single step, a needed participatory step to change from within and to reform the system. By registering for the first time, the electoral process can be improved, the politicking and politics negated, and the electoral process transformed to become more responsive to people’s clamor for change.

The College, after all, and in its most pragmatic sense, is a college of and for communication. Its mission is to create a free and transformative media. And this afternoon, the College is again walking the talk: to convince young people to be optimistic about their power to change, among others, from within, and to reform the nation, and intergral in the reformation of the nation—from within—is to be counted by registering and making young votes count.