Sole youth representative in Congress aims for three seats as it files for 2019 polls

Kabataan Partylist nominees include (left to right): Erika Cruz (2nd nominee); Elle Balgos (4th nominee); Kristian Lora (6th nominee); Sarah Elago (1st nominee and incumbent Kabataan PL rep); and Florence Kang (5th nominee). Not in the photo is Vennel Chenfoo (3rd nominee). Photo by Jamela Santiago.

Kabataan Party-list (KABATAAN), the sole youth representative in Congress, closed the second day of filing as nominees submitted their Certificates of Candidacy (COC) for the 2019 midterm elections, on Friday October 12, at the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) head office.

Photos by Jamela Santiago

Along with its founding organizations and supporters, the six nominees of KABATAAN marched from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to COMELEC, affirming that it aims of continuing its campaigns for free education, as well as forward the rights of the Filipino people, within and outside the Congress.

Panata ng Kabataan

In a short program outside the COMELEC, KABATAAN’s National President Angelica Reyes introduced the six nominees committed to continue what they call the ‘politics of change’ within the House of Representatives.

Incumbent legislator Sarah Jane Elago serves as the first nominee of KABATAAN, followed by Erika Cruz from the National Capital Region (NCR), Vennel Chenfoo from Northern Mindanao, Elle Balgos from Cagayan Valley, Florence Kang from the Ilocos Region, and Atty. Kristian Lora from Cebu.

The partylist reinforced its promise to deliver and legislate pro-people agenda committed to represent the marginalized youth and sectors. KABATAAN also highlighted the youth’s substantial role in nation-building and maintained its stand to fight against historical revisionism and state repression in its campaign for rights, freedom, and justice while also campaigning for a genuine free education with no preconditions.

“Ang ating inspirasyon sa pagtakbo sa susunod na eleksyon ay ang ating napagtagumpayan nang mga laban,” said KABATAAN’s representative Sarah Elago in the short program following the confirmation of the partylist’s COCs.

(“Our inspiration in running for the next elections is our victories in our campaigns.”)

Elago maintained that while there are merits in the implementation of Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education, education is still not accessible to all, as is the case with ongoing militarization of Lumad communities and attacks on their alternative schools. The legislator expressed the partylist’s commitment to pass House Bill 4800 or the Comprehensive Free Public Higher Education Act, a more inclusive education policy filed by Kabataan Partylist.

“Hamon na patuloy na gampanan ang ating pagiging pag-asa ng bayan. Magagawa lang natin ‘yan kung sa harap ng atake sa ating demokratikong karapatan, sa harap ng atake sa ating sama-samang pagkilos, tayo ay magpapalakas ng ating hanay. Ang sandata natin ay ang ating pagkakaisa. Ang ating pagkakaisa ang ating ibabandila sa lahat ng nagmamaliit, na walang walang kinikilalang edad ang paglilingkod sa bayan,” Elago continued.

(“The challenged bestowed upon us is to continue our responsibility as the hope of our nation. We can only do that if, despite the attacks on our democratic rights, despite the attcks on our collective action, we are still steadfast in strengthening our ranks. Our only weapon is our unity. Our unity is what we will show to those who belittle us, that age should never be a requirement when it comes to serving the people.”)

Rage against Red-bait

KABATAAN also belied the accusations of Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in the latter’s statement that partylist members under the Makabayan bloc are terrorists and linked to communists groups, citing that it is an attack to the strength of the youth movement vocal against the current policies of the Duterte administration.

“Bitbit ng KABATAAN at ng Makabayan ang prestihiyo ng politikang nakabatay sa pag-asa, sa pagkilos, at sa pagbabago. Sa kabila ng atake sa demokratikong karapatan, mga atake sa kolektibong aksyon lalong lalo na sa kabataan na aktibo sa kanilang pamantasan, sa kanilang mga komunidad na nagsasalita at nagpapahayag laban sa extrajudicial killings, laban sa repressive provisions ng TRAIN, at laban sa kahit anong pagbabanta ng diktadurya, ang mga kabataan, nakikita niyo po kung paano siya nagkakaisa at matapang na isusulong ang kanyang boses hindi lang sa loob ng Kongreso kundi pati na rin sa kanilang komunidad. Kaya po kami ay lalo pang magpapalakas ng aming unities at isusulong ang collective aspirations ng mamamayan natin sa loob at labas ng kongreso,” Elago clarified.

(“KABATAAN and Makabayan [bloc] carries the prestige of politics grounded on hope, mobilization, and change. Despite the attacks on democratic rights and our collective action especially on the youth actively voicing out their stand against extrajudicial killings, against the repressive provisions of TRAIN [law], and against the signs of dictatorship in their universities and communities, you can still see their unity and how brave they forward their voice not only within the Congress but also within their communities. We aim to strengthen our unities the collective aspirations of the people within and outside the Congress.”)

The youth partylist also spoke out against red-baiting and seeing dissent as destabilization, claiming that it is only imperative for the youth to be critical of the society that they are part of.

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