Our national heroes like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Melchora Aquino, and Aurora Quezon have now returned from the grave to remind Filipinos to hold up our end of the bargain in preserving our hard-won freedom by voting in the coming elections.
The interactive website magparehistroka.com features the animated ghosts of the country’s national heroes to urge qualified voters to register for the upcoming elections.
The website was conceptualized by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in partnership with advertising agency MullenLowe Treyna and Google. The witty illustrations were done by Chinny Basinang.
In a Zoom interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez described magparehistroka.com as an “evocative” website where “our dead heroes are basically shaming us into exercising our rights to vote.”
“Nandyan din ‘yung learnings sa (magparehistroka.com). Tinuturuan natin ang kabataan, through the website, that will resonate with them. We hope this will be easy for them to understand since relatable ito sa kanila,” Jimenez said.
As soon as you open the website, an illustration of a dying Jose Rizal urges you to click the screen. The witty narration, “Eto si Rizal, namatay siya para makaboto ka” drives the point home through the use of dark humor.
“If you follow through narrative of the characters, mabibigyan ka ng paliwanag kung bakit mahalaga ang karapatan mong bumoto, in a pahapyaw way. Hindi katulad ng mga ibang voter education websites na, ‘Upo ka diyan tapos lelecturan kita.’ Hindi siya ganoon,” Jimenez explained.
The website also features Rizal, Bonifacio, Aquino, Quezon, Mabini, and other fallen heroes using funny dialogues, popular memes, and cultural references as they walk you through the steps of voter registration.
According to Jimenez, the use of candid dialogues and witty illustrations “encourage people to start thinking and looking at other sources.” When the website was being conceptualized, they discovered that using “everyday lectures” was not “effective.”
“There’s also a push that will take them directly to iRehistro.comelec.gov.ph. The website essentially prepares you to register and when you're ready, helps you to register… nandyan kasi ‘yung mga konsepto ng voter registration na pinag-uusapan natin sa voter education lectures,” Jimenez said.
Aside from walking through the steps of voter registration, the website also encourages aspiring voters to follow health protocols and bring their requirements.
“We felt that it’s time for a fresh approach. We thought of certain personalities and looked further. We realized na throughout our educational life, paulit-ulit tayong pinapakilala sa mga bayani natin. Paulit-ulit tayong pinapakilala sa mga heroes natin pero kilala lang natin sila base sa mga tinuturo sa atin. And we realized that they were regular people called to extraordinary circumstances,” Jimenez shared.
As the end of voter registration is approaching, Jimenez hoped that magparehistroka.com would “keep going” as a reminder to encourage qualified voters to exercise their rights.
“Remember these heroes, they’re not going to be satisfied with voter registration. Jose Rizal isn't going to lie down for you to just register and go away quietly. He's gonna want you to vote,” he added.
Aside from the website, Jimenez said COMELEC is “looking for ways to transform information into voting campaigns” amid the pandemic.
Voter registration has been extended until Oct. 30. In a press briefing, COMELEC announced that all registration services will be offered to qualified voters.