A few days ago, I went to UP Los Banos to attend a forum sponsored by a Buklod-UPLB, a student political alliance in campus. I found it odd at first because Buklod, is a “blue” party (which in terms of the spectrum of campus politics, is on the other side of the fence from where I stand), contesting student council seats from our colleagues in the militant Sakbayan.
Nevertheless, I told them that appreciated that they invited someone like me, all the way from UP Diliman, to share my views, however different it may be from theirs.
The forum was about the 2010 elections and the youth’s participation in it. I was one of four panelists, others were from the Liberal Party (represented by ex-Congressman Neric Acosta), a media organization (I don’t remember which one exactly), and YouthVote Philippines.
What I said was nothing you wouldn’t have expected me to say. Among others, I said that all the hype about the youth participation in the 2010 elections is well and good. However, I stressed out that the youth’s participation goes well beyond 2010 and the elections. I encouraged everyone to sustain the heightened enthusiasm in participating in the elections and use it as the drive to participate in more democratic exercises in their school, in their communities, with other sectors of society, into the streets or wherever their passion drives them to. We cannot rely on the elections alone as the only means for effecting social change in a country plagued by systemic economic and class exploitation, especially because the elections is largely dominated by those who thrive on that kind of order.
I forget what the other speakers said. I think they all said the same thing, drumming up the same slogan of youth participation in the elections. Which is all well and good, as I’ve said.
Anyway, after the forum, I spent the rest of the day till much later into the night with my fraternity brods and our sorority sisters in Los Banos. It was actually just my third time in UPLB (the other two being just a grade school and a high school field trip to the botanical garden), and my first time to meet met most of my batchmates in Los Banos. This time I also got to go around the campus itself and the different places outside the gates. Needless to say, I had a great time and I’m looking forward to my next visit, hopefully a longer one. Soon.