By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Richard J. Gordon today urged the Filipino youth to assert their rights to participate in public affairs, especially by engaging in the national discourse about important issues that matter to them during the May 2022 elections.
Gordon made the call as he looked back at a time when as a 26-year-old law student, he was elected as the youngest delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention (ConCon) 50 years ago.
“I’m encouraged to seek that more and more young people are getting interested in politics. Like them, I have high hopes to be part of the change we want for our country and our people, especially among those marginalized,” he said.
“Today, as our country is mired in a deep political divide, the youth play a very important role and contribution in shaping the political discourse. We need to listen more to the concerns and issues of our young people,” he added.
An icon among student leaders, it may be recalled that Gordon joined the creme de la creme of Philippine society after being elected as topnotcher among 23 candidates as a Zambales representative, winning in 12 out of 14 towns.
As the youngest delegate, Gordon also swore in Diosdado Macapagal as president of the 1971 ConCon, replacing then-president Carlos P. Garcia who died 13 days after the convention was convened.
Serving as a ConCon delegate, he went to work as the vice-chairman of the foreign relations committee and pushed a platform of education reform, the duties and obligations of citizens, and the future of the American bases in Subic and Clark.
It was there where Gordon initiated a study on the strategic use of Subic and its possible conversion into a freeport, serving as inspiration for the establishment of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, which he chaired from 1992 to 1998.
With the country striving for a new identity through the 2022 national and local elections, Gordon said he hopes that the Filipino youth could also be more discerning in choosing the next leaders of our country for at least the next three or six years.
“The future of the country lies within your hands. Let us choose our leaders based on a solid track record of public service and discern their true character beyond empty sloganeering and political gimmickries,” he said.
Gordon, who is seeking a second term in the Senate in next year’s elections, has become one of the most prolific lawmakers during the 17th and 18th Congresses, filing 116 resolutions and 146 bills, 48 of which have become law.
Gordon also chairs three committees in the Senate, notably the Committee on Public Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation (Blue Ribbon Committee), on Justice and Human Rights, and on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises.
Aside from his Senate stint, Gordon had served as Olongapo mayor, SBMA chairman, Tourism secretary, and senator from 2004 to 2010. He is also known for his civic duty in the Philippine Red Cross, leading as its volunteer-chairman since 2004. (AI/MTVN)