‘Fellow Filipinos, why the hate?’

Patricia Candaza
We are all Filipino citizens, our loyalty doesn’t belong to our candidate, it belongs to our country—the Philippines

To my fellow Filipino voters,

Being a first-time voter, I am more than excited to cast my vote this coming May 9.

Setting aside the traditional debut party to welcome one’s legality, I do think that exercising my right to suffrage is the ultimate indicator that I am of legal age. But more than that, I am both excited and anxious to be able to finally participate in the upcoming elections and perhaps this feeling is not foreign to you.

If defending your candidate or proving your point is at the expense of losing identity as a Filipino citizen then it’s time to take a step back and re-examine your choices.

 

On some days, you might also wonder if your candidate is really worthy of the position, or maybe at some point you feel like your chosen candidate is the best one there is. Well, you are not alone. I do think that all of us felt this way especially with the elections fast approaching. But I want you to understand that your vote is not just another vote, your vote can make or break this country for the next 6 years. Are we ready to face the ramifications of our actions?

I have seen how people coming from all ages defend their candidates; but, in the process, they have lost their respect towards others. It is heartbreaking to see people threaten other people just because their opinion is different.

My fellow voter, is this how low we have become?

If defending your candidate or proving your point is at the expense of losing identity as a Filipino citizen then it’s time to take a step back and re-examine your choices.

We are all Filipino citizens, our loyalty doesn’t belong to our candidate, it belongs to our country—the Philippines.

We need not to demoralize each other, if your dream is the same as mine which is to make the Philippines great again—why the hate?

I want you to understand that we all the right to express our opinions and in doing so we create political discourses. And these types of discourses aren’t by any means unruly, in fact they help inform people. But why is it that every time I try to share my ideas I get shut down? This goes the same to everyone else who have been emotionally scarred because of the threats, insults and curses they have received the moment they air out their views. I am in no place to judge your beliefs and opinions, but I do think that we equally have the right to challenge each other’s contentions.

Like all of you, I am also tired, angry and scared. I want you to know that you are not alone. Your struggle is not different from mine, the same way that the struggle of the Kidapawan farmers is no different from that of the Lumads.

We are all tired because our government officials continue to make false promises, angry because our government chooses to dismiss our pleas of help, but more than that we are also scared because we are uncertain of our future, we fear the unknown.

I don’t blame you for feeling this way, like you, I also feel the same. But this is not enough reason for us to be cynical towards each other. Your opinions, beliefs, intelligence—these are not an excuse for hurting someone whether physically or emotionally just so you can prove your point. No one is above or below anyone. We are all Filipinos, our allegiance belongs to the flag, not to a politician.

We so desperately cry for change, but are we even ready for change? We want discipline yet we don’t want to be disciplined. Our hopes for our country can only go as far as our attitude towards our fellow countrymen.

We are the sovereign Filipino people and the power to change the future of the country lies in us. And so, this coming May 9, as you cast your respective votes I want you to remember your family—who, like you, have also suffered from injustices of our government; your friends—who equally have the same sentiments as you do; the rape victims—who have endured the countless shaming done by our society; the Lumads—whom until now is deprive from living in their ancestral lands; the farmers—in their fight for genuine agrarian reform; and lastly I want you think about this great nation—with collective action we can once again prove our country’s worth.

I want you to remember that your right to vote is something you owe to yourself, but whom you will vote for that is something you owe to the country. There is no room for hatred, anger, bigotry and smart-shaming—these things would only do us harm.

What we need is respect and unity. I have high hopes for our country, I believe that through our efforts we can lay the foundation of a brighter and greater Philippines. – Rappler.com

Patricia Candaza, 18 years old, is a first year BA Mass Communication student from the University of the Philippines Cebu.