Children and youth champion #VoteForChildren
Youth leaders from more than 30 World Vision communities nationwide proudly made their voices heard regarding the 2019 national elections through World Vision’s #VoteForChildren campaign. A series of activities and consultations were organized by WVDF to give children a platform to tell voters and election candidates to prioritize child-related issues and concerns when they vote. World Vision’s #VoteForChildren advocacy campaign aimed to give children the chance to be heard in the May 13 electoral process.
“The participation and statements of children are salient and must be considered especially when choosing leaders every elections,” Mae, a #VoteForChildren activity participant from Visayas, said.
A call for integrity and honesty
Some of the issues raised by the participants from World Vision communities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindana included bullying, teenage pregnancy, education, violence against children, online sexual exploitation of children, and environmental degradation. The participants also implored voters to choose candidates who have integrity and honesty, and are trustworthy and God-fearing. Children from the provinces of Samar and Leyte included being the attitude of being compassionate while in Malabon, youth leaders wanted a leader who is good in problem solving.
Issues and concerns
In Bicol, World Vision children joined other youth leaders from several member organizations of the Bicol Network for Children (BNC) during the electoral symposium on “Protection of the Rights of the Children on Legislative Level.” Issues such as online sexual exploitation of Children (OSEC) and lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR), among others, were asked to political candidates present during the symposium. BNC is a consortium of child-focused organizations in the Bicol Region.
In World Vision areas in Batangas, youth leaders spoke to political candidates in their community to hear the latter’s plan related to children’s education.
Not only do youth leaders talked to political candidates but also to the voting adults. In Zamboanga del Norte, for instance, youth leaders spoke in a gathering attended by parents and encouraged the latter to think of the thousands of children on election day. Local radio station, Radio Kahupayan, also aired the children’s concern and hope that political candidates and the voters would heed the call to vote for the children’s sake.
In South Cotabato, on the other hand, children discussed violence against children and what can be done to address this. In North Cotabato, youth leaders also gathered and identified bullying and vices as some of the issues that they want adults to resolve. These issues were also broadcast through Super Radyo Davao, a GMA network’s local radio station.
“I, as an advocate for children, do hope that the candidates that will be chosen have the heart to serve children, to protect children, and also to preserve the rights of children,” Mitzi, another participant from Visayas, shared.
Every election, World Vision involves children and youth in its Vote for Children, a nationwide advocacy campaign calling for honest and clean elections, and one that focuses on children’s welfare. “Children have the rights to be part of our election, even if they are not yet voters. Everything that we do will impact the future of our Filipino children,” Flor Algo, World Vision Youth Protection Specialist for Luzon, said.
Charm Callejo, Spiritual Nurture for Filipino Children Project Manager, explained, “We always say that children are our future. May we follow this statement with action. Let us inform ourselves of the issues and values children want candidates to address and possess.”