JOINED BY PROFESSIONALS and students from legal and political backgrounds, The Repvblic (TR) launched “Tayo Ang Soberanya,” a three-series voter’s education program on their official Facebook page. 

The event was divided into sessions with a different team in charge of making sure that the session runs smoothly. Shenny Fajardo, the activity chair for the third session, shared that the intention behind the series is to serve the Filipino people of awareness as regards the Philippine Electoral System in a discourse on the right of suffrage and a forum between civil societies, academic institutions, and government organizations. 

“We must rise above the current and utilize our platforms to fight false news and historical distortion as they become prevalent in social media,” says Fajardo, as the organization aims to reinforce civic engagement to gradually foster civic engagement and promote political involvement and attentiveness. 

Tyrese Puchero, activity chair for the second session meanwhile shared his criticism of the Filipino behavior on democratic participation for being limited in the conduct of elections. 

“This is the counter-thesis of democracy,” Puchero added, noting that the democracy in the country is being torn by politicians through propaganda, maneuvering legalities, and strong-arming the branches of the government. 

In a span of three sessions, Prof. Richard Talento together with Political Science (PolSci) Students Kyrelle Tolete, Matthew Tan, and Lorenz De Claro discussed the challenges and status quo of the Philippine Electoral System. 

Meanwhile, Atty. John Rex Laudiangco, Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Spokesperson, Atty. Carlo Africa, Executive Director for Hirayang Kabataan, Prof. Jess Paul Pasibe, and PolSci Students Vincent Ian Paz and Angelo Tejose, took part in the discussion on the Technicalities of the Philippine Elections in its second session. 

Lastly, on the topic of accountability as an aspect of good governance, Atty. Luke Espiritu and Inst. Rodrigo Emil Carreon. 

In their preparation, John Lloyd Dris, co-chair for the first session shared the difficulty in sourcing professional panelists with expertise on the subject matters per session. 

“We have encountered numerous rejections to the point that we have no names to suggest,” said Dris. 

Nonetheless, he proudly mentions that the other panelist suggested names and which pulled through for the organization in successfully executing the roundtable discussions. 

On behalf of TR, Luiz Pagnamitan, co-chair for the third session, calls for the Bedan community to be brave. 

“There are still a lot of issues that the Philippines need to address and we cannot change that just by the simple means of voting,” Pagnamitan shared, emphasizing that the exercise of suffrage is simply the first step. 

Calling for Bedans and the Filipino people to be vigilant and critical in evaluating and demanding from their elected representatives. 

“Do not be the voice of the people, but instead be the one who amplifies it,” he ended, calling for unity in the fight against society’s inequalities. 

(With Francesca Zia Robles)

Photo by Paolo Ornos


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