Dr. Jose Rizal’s line, “Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan” may have been immortalized in our books. Yet, as cliché as it may sound, it remains relevant more than ever.
The Political Society of the University of the Philippines (UP POLSCi) presents one of the largest and most anticipated inter-high school political competitions in the country: the 12th Camp Ped Xing: Politics 101. Open to all middle and high school students, Ped Xing seeks to empower young people by introducing the discipline of political science as a lens for understanding important social issues in the Philippines and around the world. For the first time since its inception, the event will be fully online, and will be held synchronously on May 8, 9 and 15, 2021 via Zoom. Registration is free for everyone.
Based on the theme “Inspiring Action in Times of Political Unrest, Ped Xing XII aims to strengthen students’ theoretical and critical foundations on politics through a series of lectures given by renowned speakers, mini-games and discussions. in small groups. Expecting more than 400 participants this year, Ped Xing: Politics 101 Camp ensures that young Filipino students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to serve their communities and the Filipino nation.
A period of political turmoil
Political participation is fundamental to democracy, and intrinsic to it, the very concept that promotes all the activities by which citizens seek to shape, or better yet, to actively engage in issues and policies. public. While there is much to be said about the issue of declining political participation among today’s youth, the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic have proven otherwise. With a majority stuck at home for work and school, the inevitable shift to online platforms has subconsciously broadened and transformed the notion of political participation to a wider population. As political and social crises followed one another, Filipino internet users showed their ability to become proactive in times of urgent need, as evidenced by the proliferation of numerous fundraising and online campaigns during Typhoons Ulysses and Rolly. More and more Filipino users are enthusiastically joining the discourse on topics that affect society, reflecting the genuine interest of the people in the affairs of their nation, which is conducive to a healthy and functioning democracy. While adapting to the digital world has highlighted many limitations, it has also shown great potential for political engagement and civic engagement, both of which are increasingly relevant today.
What to do when the very essence of our democracy is taken away from us?
In the Philippines, there has been an increase in incidents of state-sanctioned attacks, warrantless arrests and aggressive red marking against those who have spoken out in their dissent on government policies. These became more apparent after the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Law, where public officials easily dismiss Filipinos – usually students – posing as “terrorists” or “communists”, increasing tensions and setting a very precedent. alarming impunity and unwarranted violence across the country. country. In these uncertain times, the onus is on the public to become more vigilant than ever, including in protecting their own constitutional rights and freedoms. After all, in any true democracy, political participation and activism should never be demonized, but should be viewed critically.
Around the world, from Myanmar, Hong Kong, Thailand, to the United States and Latin America, the pandemic has not stopped young people from participating in the global call to demand justice, accountability and inclusiveness. their government. Essentially, it is a reminder that it is up to citizens, especially young people, to ensure that we can continue to enjoy the fruits of the democracy for which our people have fought, by amplifying our voices and doing what we can to run the currency.
Ped Xing XII offers various opportunities to synergize and apply the learnings, talents and passion of Filipino high school students. The Politics 101 Camp is complemented by inspiring lectures, various synchronous and asynchronous activities and contests with exciting cash prizes, including essay writing contests for JHS and SHS students, digital poster design contest, a photo essay competition and a team project proposal competition. . The registration deadline for all student delegates is April 9, 2021. All bona fide junior high and high school students can enroll here: http://bit.ly/PedxingXII
Essentially, this event aims to reinvigorate young people with knowledge while igniting the fire of their passion to actively participate in issues that affect our nation today and tomorrow. It highlights the role of political science in inspiring action, political participation and fostering positive impacts for our communities and, ultimately, our country.
Dr José Rizal is right. The youth is the hope of the nation, because we are the natural heirs of the future that we create, and the essential actors of the present that we all share today.
Ped Xing XII is officially sponsored by Illest PH, QuickFX, Mizuno, Cozy MNL, Wear Nouvelle, Eterna Activewear, Cariz Shop and co-presented by Ikot.PH, WhenInManila.com, Inquirer.net, Inquirer Pop, Archers Network, Filipinas Malayang Balita, The Freehand, and Today’s Carolinian.
Join UP Political Society’s annual Ped Xing: Politics 101 camp, discussing how YOUNG PEOPLE can lead change today.