'Fellow Filipinos, why the hate?'

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.