For the youth who are afraid, heartbroken, and disappointed


If you’re reading this, you probably have tears in your eyes. You’re angry, frustrated, and even in denial that the Philippines will elect another Marcos into the presidency.

Friends and family have called me with despair and disbelief in their voices. Some cried. Others hurled insults at the universe. And I told them what I’ll say to you now: These are valid emotions. Do not let anyone (especially the trolls) tell you otherwise.

A Marcos presidency seems unfathomable, given this is the same country that ousted the family 36 years ago. But the reality is that four decades is a lifetime for many. We need to focus on the now.

Marcos, <b> For the youth who are afraid, heartbroken, and disappointed </b>

The now

The truth is that a Marcos win changed our elections forever. Filipinos have proven that a candidate’s value is not based on their credentials, merit, or personal history.

A recognizable name and robust political machinery are enough. Fake news on social media has made debates and media institutions close to irrelevant. The Internet, a source of great information, ironically regressed Filipinos to their most basic voting instincts.

Here’s a hard truth for those who still see EDSA ’86 with rose-colored glasses: those days are now trivial. No amount of Twitter virtue signaling can change that.

Yes, the thousands killed, raped, and tortured matter. So do the billions of dollars plundered. But our schools failed to reinforce these facts. As the old saying goes, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

Succeeding gov’ts were no better, failing to deliver on the promise of a better tomorrow. While the privileged wail about past injustices, the marginalized – the majority – cry from the lack of food on their table today.

As I’ve told professors and colleagues bewildered with the contrast between the massive Robredo rallies and her performance in surveys, only the privileged can afford to file vacation leaves.

Only those who have something extra in their pockets can spare food, money, and time to troop to avenues like Emerald and Ayala. Meanwhile, with their backs broken, trying to scrape together what little they can, the poor are either too tired at home or still looking for their next meal.

Marcos, <b> For the youth who are afraid, heartbroken, and disappointed </b>

The neglected system made the majority supposedly bobo, tanga, or inutil, as tweeted by opposition supporters on their smartphones.

Like anyone in a toxic relationship, it is natural for the disenchanted and marginalized to look for an out. Marcos was the charming suitor readily available with his nostalgic name and promise of unity.

The future

Here’s a consolation: You did what you felt was right for the country. You can be proud of that.

You proved you are a person who will go out of your comfort zone to stand for your principles. Hindi balewala ang init at pagod sa rally, house to house, pati sa mismong pagboto. Nobody, not even the trolls, can take away your spirit.

The spirit of volunteerism and yearning for a rosas-colored future does not end with Leni Robredo. It did not end on May 9. Even with the loss, a movement has been born that desires competency, transparency, and integrity from its leaders.

Marcos, <b> For the youth who are afraid, heartbroken, and disappointed </b>

Manalo, matalo, these elections provide a clearer picture of the direction we want our lives to take.

Will the opposition finally bring its strategies from the 80s to the 21st century, employing a solid social media presence, funding fact-checkers, and rebranding itself even further than it did this year?

After two straight election losses, the opposition is hopefully more humbled and innovative, realizing that the “People Power” way of people trooping to the streets is no longer enough.

Will you leave the country, believing that there is no hope for Filipinos? This is a valid feeling. You have a surplus of youth. Use it to uplift yourself and your family. As for the rest of Filipinos, pwede mo sila ipaglaban, pero at the end of the day, sila parin ang tutulong sa sarili nila.

Will you stay, lick your wounds, realize that there are winners and losers to every election, and hold the President accountable for their actions? This country has seen darker days, and it only takes a flicker of light to ignite the brighter tomorrow we crave for the Philippines.

May liwanag sa dilim.

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