February 22, 2007
Jeffrey M. Tupas
Now featured in www.youtube.com, the Kabataan video has been attracting the attention of the youth, most of them expressing their support for the party, if not giggling over the presence of Trillo in the video.
Produced in January and released to the public this February, the video teaser had been on the top 35 videos of YouTube for four days. It can now be downloaded from the Internet and is being circulated in schools and communities nationwide.
"We did not pay the young people who appeared in the video. We let them read the script and they were the ones who chose what lines they would like to narrate," Mong Palatino, the group's national president and number one nominee, said in e-mail exchanges with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of the INQUIRER.net.
The brief description to the video says: "In this time of corrupt governance and political unrest/instability, the nation needs young, vibrant and innovative minds who will restore integrity and morality in governance and lead the nation to genuine progress and social change."
Also making a pitch for Kabataan in the video are noontime TV show hosts Ciara Sotto and Paolo Ballesteros, reggae band Brownman Revival vocalist Dino Concepcion, Agaw Agimat vocalist QT Paduano Nadela, TV host and student activist Atom Araullo, Filmmaker Sinag de Jesus, Palatino and fellow party nominees Rico Almoquera and Ella Colmenares.
Locsin, who was a member of the Anak ng Bayan (Kabataan's former name) in 2003, is the younger sister of Colmenares. Patino said they met with Locsin in January and asked the actress if she would agree to appear in the video teaser.
"We told her it is our aim to represent the youth sector in Congress and we can only be successful if young people will actively participate in our advocacies. She agreed. She asked her friend Dennis Trillo to be part of the video teaser and Dennis agreed too," Palatino said.
Ciara Sotto, who is also a member of Kabataan Party-list, asked Paolo Ballesteros to be part of the video.
"We want the young people to be more active, aggressive and creative in demanding reforms in the country. We hope to show the idealism of the youth. We want to manifest our disappointment about the current state of affairs in our country. Instead of wallowing in cynicism, we appeal to the passionate energies of the youth to work for genuine changes in our society," Palatino said.
"We thought of featuring young people from different walks of life who will articulate our message for a more active youth involvement in the social and political life of the country," Palatino added.
He said the video, as a political material, would be used by the party even after the elections -- whether or not they would get a seat in Congress.
"It intends to disrupt the disappointing status quo by proving that young people are really determined to fight for changes. TV ads of politicians were made mainly for the 2007 elections. Our video will be used even beyond the elections. Its objective is to encourage the youth to be more active in politics," he said.
"The involvement of youth personalities will help popularize the video among young people and hopefully our target audience will get our message. I hope they will also appreciate that the video featured not only showbiz personalities but also young people from different backgrounds," he added.
The video teaser has been receiving various reactions from the youth themselves.
"Masyadong matalas para sa pangkaraniwang kabataan. Highly political. Kunsabagay, kailangang basagin ang mga tradisyon para makapaghawan ng landas tungo sa pangmatagalang tagumpay. Nakakatuwa ring may mga celebrity endorsers na tayo. [Too sharp for the ordinary youth .... In any case, we need to break with tradition to create a path towards long-term success. It’s great we already have celebrity endorsers]," one commented.
"Finally, a party which I can give my full support to…You have my vote," another said.
"Sayang…di pa ako pede bumoto…[It’s a shame, I cannot vote yet] haissshh..But still, you have my support. This video made me think for a while, haha...nice one!" said another comment.
The only youth party aiming for a sectoral representation in Congress, the Kabataan Party (formerly Ang Nagkakaisang Kabataan para sa Sambayanan or Anak ng bayan) also ran in 2004 but failed to make it.
Named by Pulse Asia as one of the topmost favorite party-list groups in the 2004 elections, the group claimed being a victim of massive vote shaving and padding (dagdag-bawas).
The party's defeat however failed to deflate and weaken its desire to be at the forefront of the political arena as they worked with various youth organizations including the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), and the Kabataang Artista Para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (Karatula).
Over the years, the party fought for the rights of the students and consistently blocked and campaigned against incessant tuition and other school fee increases while demanding from the government the people's basic right to a quality and free education.
This is a sector that demands to see "another Cory [Corazon] Aquino who united a grieving nation in the mid 1980s… a new Miriam Defensor-Santiago who amazed the youth with her wit and bravado during the early 1990s."
Also on its list of advocacies are employment, good governance, consumer rights, independence, democratic rights, youth empowerment, and identity and culture -- all of these articulated in the video in a rather assertive fashion that only the youth and the daring can muster.
"Kabataan, panahon na para sumuway at maging mapangahas…[It’s time for us to defy and to dare]," Trillo said in the teaser.
“Walang ibang tagapagmana ng bukas kundi tayo…walang ibang maghuhulma ng bukas kundi tayo…. [Nobody else will inherit the future but us ... Nobody else will shape the future but us],” Locsin said.
In January, Sotto, whose father Vicente “Tito” Sotto is running for senator under the government's TEAM Unity, signed up to join the party during its national convention.
In the teaser, the younger Sotto said: "Sumalungat sa karaniwang agos ng kawalang-pakialam [Let’s go against the usual flow of apathy]."
Palatino, in his own blog, said that the youth could actually make the election less filthy by going out on May 14 to vote. Voting, he said, was the youth's duty and responsibility.
"If the election is dominated by the elite, let's make the elite listen to our problems. If election is a popularity contest, let's demand a concrete platform from all candidates," Palatino said.
"If we abandon the elections and allow the trapos [traditional politicians] to dominate the campaign, elections will be more meaningless and futile exercise. But our vigilance and active engagement would probably make a difference in the reforms we want to achieve by electing competent leaders and removing imbeciles in government," Palatino added.
But voting, he said, would be just one of the many ways where the youth could actually get themselves involved during the elections.
Aside from voting, he said, the youth could volunteer for candidates and parties who "espouse what we think the country needs."
"We can report electoral violations [use those camera phones]. We can campaign for an honest and peaceful election through texting, chat, blog, and joining advocacy groups during the counting of votes," he said.
"We can cancel out all our activities on May 14 in order to brave the long queues and vote in our local precincts. If we don't vote, somebody else will vote on our behalf. Remember, ghost voters are hard to catch in a superstitious country like ours. Voting is also a rare chance to get even with bad politicians," he added.
The youth party is also out to dispel political analysts’ doubts about the capacity of the Filipino youth to deliver votes.
"Young voters could potentially dictate who will seat in the Senate and the next batch of local leaders. This is possible if the youth will vote on May or if they are not registered, influence family and friends to vote for candidates they want to win," he said.
"Analysts doubt the potency of the youth vote. According to them, the youth will not be a significant force in deciding the outcome of the coming polls. This is our chance to prove the skeptics wrong. The youth vote is real. We only need candidates who can inspire the youth with their creative and sensible election agenda," he added.
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