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Ambag has been a trending Filipino term in light of people’s experiences and contributions to others during this pandemic. It is a word widely used today particularly on social media, and commonly affiliated with political topics.

Anchored on this concept, the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines, the first nationally organized leadership development organization established in Asia, officially launched its “#AmbagKo. Rehistro. Boto.” initiative during a virtual press launch held recently.

The campaign seeks to underscore how registering and voting can be the youth’s ambag or contribution to nation-building by practicing their right to vote and help achieve a better future for the Philippines, which is now celebrating its 123rd Independence Day, the second year in a row that the country celebrated this historic event amid a debilitating pandemic.. 

It primarily targets millennials and Gen Zs to encourage eligible voters to register and vote in the upcoming 2022 national elections. This voters’ education campaign seeks to address the low registration and voter turnout in past elections by educating Filipinos on the importance of registering and voting.

With Filipinos 18 to 35 years old numbering 40 million or 37 percent of the entire electorate eligible to vote in 2022 according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and Commission on Elections (COMELEC), millennial and Gen Z Filipinos play a key role in shaping the future of the Philippines. The latest COMELEC data show there are 3.48 million voter registration applications filed between January 2020 and May 15, 2021. Of these, 1.5 million are new registrants, still short of the 4 million target by COMELEC. 

The #AmbagKo. Rehistro. Boto. hopes to boost these numbers and encourage eligible voters, in particular millennial and Gen Z Filipinos, to step out, register and vote through fun and informative content and activities, including an exciting gamification system.

The campaign is also in line with JCI’s 2021 theme of More For Others, a reminder that we can be more while doing little things to create a lasting impact for our country.

We believe in the strong potential of the Filipino youth in charting a new path for the country by choosing our next set of leaders. As an organization with young members ourselves, we at JCI want to use our platforms to encourage fellow Filipinos to register and vote. We hope that through this campaign, we can raise awareness and fuel the nationalistic spirit of the Filipinos as the elections draw nearer,” shared JCI National President Jude Acidre during the virtual launch.

When asked why they chose the word “ambag,” he said they believe the word is a powerful description about the direction of how this campaign will take shape.

And when asked by that elections only change leaders and not bring about the change in the kind of leadership the society needs, Acidre retorted, “We also like the youth to understand that change is not going to happen by itself. Change happens when we make the choice to change, when we change our perspective of things, and when we change our stake on the things that are happening around us.”

Rather than pin our concerns, our problems and our frustrations on people whom we may not have control over, we look at the power of the vote as an important platform for us to create change in a sustained and an even more impactful manner,” he added.

Acidre continued by saying that even though past elections have not made any substantial change in society but only change in leaders, now is not the time to give up. “It is even time to reaffirm the fact that by voting we do not just create a change in leaders, but it creates the change we want for our country, and here is where every young voter has an ambag or contribution,” he emphasized.

The campaign will run in two phases – Rehistro, from June 2021 to October 2021, and Boto, from November 2021 to April 2022. It will combine influencer engagement and digital and social media to reach more Filipinos, even onboarding Munimuni, a local indie band known for their makata pop, who wrote and performed the campaign’s theme song Ambag Ko, which perfectly articulates the campaign’s key objective of encouraging everyone to vote for change.

While the campaign will mostly be done online, we at JCI will do our best to reach the Filipino youth and every eligible voter wherever they are. We are mobilizing more than 200 JCI chapters nationwide to reach more areas and more voters,” Acidre adds.

With many areas in the country still under varying quarantine levels, the campaign will provide Filipinos with engaging and informative content on the steps they need to take in order to make their ambag amid the pandemic.

Voter registration for the May 2022 elections started on September 1, 2020 and will run until September 30, 2021. Eligible voters may register from Tuesday to Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in COMELEC offices. The people are encouraged to accomplish their application form and set an appointment online through the COMELEC website.

Ikaw, ano’ng ambag mo?

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