The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) has recently launched its voters' education campaign dubbed as Casting Call: The Virgin Voter's Campaign, "I Want My First Vote to Count."
Through this campaign, the theater group hopes to educate, inspire and mobilize the youth to contribute to the crucial elections of 2010. PETA President CB Garrucho pointed out that the there are five million first-time youth voters who must be convinced to register. These five million combined with the nine million already registered youth voters could create the swing vote in choosing the next leaders in the Philippine government.
During the launch held last October 13 at the PETA Theater Center, folk singer Noel Cabangon and TV personality Patricia Evangelista lent their support to the advocacy campaign that aims to encourage Filipinos to register for the upcoming elections.
Registration is scheduled Mondays to Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all local Comelec offices nationwide. The deadline is set on October 31.
Patricia told the audience: "As a writer, my job is to tell stories but I won't tell you any stories tonight because you've heard them all before. In our country, people die in different ways every day. Mothers poison their children and recently, men can drown in the street corner in the middle of the city. It doesn't end with the elections—we all know that. But it all starts with one vote... it all starts with one man taking a stand. This country has asked us before to look for heroes. We've seen heroes fall. Now, it's asking us not to look for heroes. It's asking us to become them."
Meanwhile, Ice Reyes, the captain ball of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, used a sports metaphor to get his point across: "Ang pagboboto ay parang isang basketball game lang. Ang mga points mo, counted for the team, not for yourself, kaya halika na, magrehistro na tayo lahat."
Noel Cabangon delivered a much-applauded number that echoed his nationalist sentiments: "Ako'y isang mabuting Pilipino / Minamahal ko ang bayan ko / Tinutupad ko ang aking mga tungkulin / Sinusunod ko ang kanyang mga alituntunin... Pinagtatanggol ko ang aking karangalan / Pagka't ito ang tangi kong kayamanan / Hindi ko binebenta ang ating kinabukasan / Ang boto ko'y aking pinahahalagahan!"
Before his song ended, the acoustic singer asked everyone to stand up and asked the audience to put their right hands up in the air to give a promise. While strumming his guitar, Noel asked leaders to put an end to corruption and for voters to choose people worthy of government service.
The performances of Noel Cabangon and Patricia Evangelista served as a prelude to the main event, the staging of Si Juan Tamad, Ang Diyablo at ang Limang Milyong Boto. Directed by Phil Noble, the performance had Vince de Jesus playing Diyablo/Storyteller. In the regular run of Juan Tamad by February 2010, Robert Seña will also be cast in the same role.
The audience—composed of guests, educators and students—laughed heartily at the satirical play that poked fun at the various personalities that Pinoys often see during the elections. The two-act play traces the transformation of an apathetic Juan Tamad to the pro-active Juan Tama.
The staging of Juan Tamad is dedicated to two PETA members who passed away: theater actress Joy Soler de Castro (who passed away in September 2008) and director Khryss Adalia (who died in October 2008).
Si Juan Tamad, Ang Diyablo at ang Limang Milyong Boto will be staged on October 24 and 25 at the PETA Theater Center in Quezon City.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the play.