Duterte 2016: Change is Not ComingI hate crowds.
Although finding myself among the sea of fans in the Queen's concert would be an exception - which, we all know, is never going to happen.
A few weeks ago, I found myself getting pushed and shoved in the middle of strangers. I had to endure the agony of standing for at least 3 hours. I was afraid my feet would fail me (I've had attacks of hypoglycemia before which usually happened during prolonged standing). And the fact that I didn't have dinner nor did I bring water with me made it even worse.
What the hell am I doing here?
|Kahayag sa Pagbag-o Candlelighting Rally (photo via CinEmotion Digital Films)|
Just so you know, other than hating crowds and avoiding it like plague, I detest politics. Although at one point I tried convincing myself to like politics (I even considered proceeding to Law before. Haha. Seriously, I have a bad case of delusions of grandeur). Back then, politics was oddly interesting. But after the Supreme Court allowed Grace Poe to run in the 2016 elections, I am reminded again why I hate politics. After many elections, it's no surprise that I have kept mum about anything because - I hate to admit it - I have not voted ever.
I remember back then when we were tasked by my high school Social Studies teacher to write an essay regarding former President Estrada's trial and impeachment, I had the longest paper in class. I usually write long (and perhaps boring) write-ups when my emotions are at the peak level. So this serves as warning: I am rather inspired tonight. Anyway. I don't know if I was graded an A because it was brilliant or just because it was... uh... long. It was a 2-page single-spaced reaction paper coming from a girl who's pretending to care about the world. Mind you, that's already a lot (and an achievement of some sort) for a high school sophomore whose world revolves around Backstreet Boys, football, and Pokemon. So I guess, it was a well-deserved A. Nevertheless, if there's one thing I'm sure about what I've written is that the government will deliver the same old shit.
I was wrapped up in the mentality that nothing will ever change no matter what we do. I am one of those people who became passive-submissive to the government's screwed up system, one who has been a socio-political ignoramus by choice, and one who thought that it's better not to vote because nobody deserves my vote at all. Why bother? We are already screwed anyway.
On the other hand, I would have to say, living in Davao made the story a little different. True to the city's motto, "Life is Here", any Davaoeño can boast of enjoying the perks of living here - which I think is both a boon and a bane. Reaping the fruits of a good local governance made me oblivious to how fucked up the Philippine government really is.
I wasn't keen on what's happening around (because I don't watch TV. And really, I don't give a damn). Until Duterte's name came buzzing in as if a gong just resonated to my ears over and over that I could not be bothered not to be bothered anymore. Bakit si Duterte pa? Okay na kami dito ah.
With all honesty, I never wanted him to run. And I know I'm just one of the many Davaoeños who doesn't want to share him with a country run by a bunch of heartless, greedy, and self-centered parasites with people resistant to change.
I believe in him. I always do. But I do not believe in the Filipinos. I do not believe the Filipinos are ready for him. I do not believe the Philippines deserve him. I never supported anyone or any group who's pushing him to run and I was quite vocal about it.
But last March 16, 2016, I found myself in a sea of crowd. It wasn't exactly the kind of crowd I have always imagined. You know, among those who are getting awed in Freddie Mercury's vocal gymnastics while he runs around the stage like a madman in his shiny leather pants. It was something inspiring, stirring, and moving made by a man mad for change. A blockbuster sans throwing in highly-paid celebrities and there was no expensive orchestra to boot; only, there were hearts and clenched fists orchestrating the longing for change.
So to ask myself again, what the hell was I doing there? Why did I waste my time just to feel tired and uncomfortable, not to mention, spend a little of what's left of my salary for something I detest? For politics? May napala ba ako?
Nabatukan lang naman ako.
Again, wala akong pakealam. As in wala. And it was Duterte who directed an epic facepalm on me. If he knew me personally, he would've slapped me para matauhan ako just like how my friends would slap me whenever I do something foolish.
It's not everyday you see a politician who shows genuine love for the country and its people. Heck, you do not see that in any politician at all. Mahal na mahal nya ang Pilipinas. Mahal na mahal nya ang mga Pilipino. That night when the the people sang 'Ako ay Pilipino', I had goosebumps all over. And when he started talking about the Philippines, the flag, and our nationality, I looked down and searched for my face on the floor because I think I dropped it in shame.
Isang batok ang natanggap ko galing sa malulutong at totoong salita ni Mayor to remind me: PILIPINO NGA PALA AKO.
The rally gave me a heavy blow in the heart - one that I did not see coming. Akala ko rally-rally lang yun. Makikinig lang, tapos yun na yun. Di ko alam tatamaan din pala ako ng hiya. Dahil nahiya ako sa kanya. Nahiya ako sa sarili ko. I would have gladly taken a slap from him because I think that would have been less painful.
All these years, I was just a Davaoeño. Only a Davaoeño. Nothing more. Nothing else.
But it didn't take too long for me to take a U-turn or maybe have a change of heart. No, don't get me wrong. I still detest politics. It still sounds like a foreign language to me. Politicians-defying-the-law-and-still-get-away-with-it and its many craptastic issues are already way beyond my comprehension. So I leave that to those who know and can actually handle shit. But I do care for the people affected by it. Believe it or not, I really do, not only because I finally learned where most of my taxes go but because we are all in a helpless situation. Sinu-sino pa ba ang magtutulungan? Kesyo nasa Davao o saang parte ng Pilipinas, pare-pareho tayong biktima ng bulok na systema ng gobyerno.
It was Duterte who showed me that I am more than just a Davaoeño. It was him who showed me what it means to be a Filipino.
Duterte has inspired and transformed me, and perhaps you, and many others in ways we never thought of. If you haven't noticed, we are already doing those little things that make us law-abiding citizens because that is what Duterte embodies.
But more than that, seeing Filipinos exert conscious efforts to cultivate kindness and altruism is what struck me the most. The recent unfortunate events prove that the flame of the bayanihan spirit is not dead - and it only took a spark to get the fire glowing. Duterte was the spark. We saw beyond his tough personality and we emulated his compassion towards others (and I don't know why it kills others to see that).
I see more and more individuals are changing for the better. So even for a pessimist like me, it is now impossible to doubt the existence of hope. With the clamor for Duterte to be the next leader of the Philippines, hope was given to the millions of people oppressed far longer than we could imagine by the modern-day tyrants disguised as our public servants.
|A volunteer. And I am deeply honored. :)|
And now that I am seeing the bigger and better picture, I am certain that change is not coming because IT HAS ALREADY BEGUN!
I do not know Duterte personally. I do not have a personal experience with him. But he did change me unknowingly and in a profound way I never expected. This isn't even share worthy, not the tear-jerking or heartwarming story you would want to hear, not even interesting to say the least. But I am writing this because this is something I can never dismiss. NO LEADER HAS EVER MADE ME REKINDLE MY FAITH, HOPE, PRIDE, AND LOVE FOR THIS COUNTRY. And this is #MyDuterteStory.
So this is my call for my fellow Filipinos...
CHANGE HAS ALREADY BEGUN.
Duterte was our catalyst and our only job is to be united to keep this change and to keep changing for the better.
We know that the Philippines is falling apart. And we aren't so naive to believe that Duterte can single-handedly clean ALL of the shit the Philippines is in. He needs us as much as we need him.
He isn't perfect. But to speak of passion, compassion, competency, integrity, and grit, I sincerely, firmly, eagerly, and thoughtfully believe that voting for Duterte will lead us directly in to the RIGHT direction. Sa TAMANG daan na po tayo.
This May 9, 2016, we only have two choices here: to stop the rotten government or to stop the change. Your choice.