Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Different Faces of Change... Filipino-Style!

The Different Faces of Change... Filipino-Style!

Last week, the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, originally convened by the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government, brought its Caravan of Good Governance to Malayan Colleges Laguna in Cabuyao, Laguna and to First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities (FAITH) in Tanauan City, Batangas.

More than a thousand students and teachers listened to the talks of Kaya Natin! leaders Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio and San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Mayor Sonia Lorenzo.

After listening to their talks, the students were given the chance to interact with Gov. Panlilio and Mayor Lorenzo and one of them said that after hearing their inspiring stories, her sense of being a Filipino was renewed.

Another student leader also shared that she thought that all of our government leaders were corrupt but after listening to them she felt more hopeful for our country’s future knowing that there are effective and ethical government officials like them.

Finally, many of the students asked how they can get involved in promoting good governance and electing better leaders for our country.

This just goes to show that many young Filipinos may feel cynical about our nation’s future given our situation now but if only we give them an opportunity to meet God-fearing and morally-upright leaders then that same cynicism can be transformed into a more positive spirit that will drive them to proactive action to help change the Philippines. Other founding leaders of Kaya Natin! include Ramon Magsaysay Awardees Mayor Jesse Robredo of Naga City and Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela as well as Gov. Teddy Baguilat, Jr. of Ifugao. For more information about Kaya Natin! visit


Aside from Kaya Natin! another group that is very active in promoting youth involvement towards electing effective and ethical government leaders is YouthVote Philippines (YVote).

YVote is a coalition of different youth-led organizations such as the Young Public Servants, Ayala Young Leaders and the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines to name a few. They are currently going around different colleges and universities to encourage the Filipino youth to register for the upcoming elections.

Just recently, they were able to convince the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to open their offices to accept registrations from students. This is very important since during weekdays many of the students are not able to find the time to register since they are very busy with their respective school work.

YVote has gone nationwide and has established chapters in Davao, Cebu and Nueva Ecija. These chapters will be organizing events and activities that will inform the youth on the importance of taking part in the upcoming election as well as the necessary requirements that they will need to bring to their respective COMELEC offices. For more information about how you can support or join YVote Philippines, you can check out their website at


Finally, a bigger coalition of civil society groups, church groups and business groups that aims to gather 10 million voters who will vote for the right leaders for our country is the Movement for Good Governance (MGG).

Among those who are spearheading MGG are Dr. Milwida Guevara of Synergeia Foundation and Bill Luz of Ayala Foundation.

MGG believes that there is a reform constituency in our country now that if united can easily elect our next President. This reform constituency will primarily come from the youth sector which is expected to compose at least 50 percent of our country’s total voting population by 2010 and the Filipinos who are working or living overseas who number around 8 million.

Recently, the MGG helped organize the world premiere of a set of political satire videos that are portrayed by YouTube star, Juana Change. These videos are fun to watch but at the same time depict the kind of situation that our country is in right now. You can watch one of the videos by going to this website,

Another major plan of the MGG is to organize a series of Presidential debates that will be aired over a major television network partner. This will allow us to be more discerning about the track record and platforms which our candidates will be standing up for when they run for office in 2010. If you would like to join or support MGG, you can send an email to .

With so many groups now working for change in our country especially as we near the 2010 National Elections, there is no reason for us not to get involved and be active in helping shape a better future for our nation. Let us always remember that if we don’t do anything to help change our country then we we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Comments are welcome at Harvey S. Keh is director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government.