Now more than ever, let’s vote
Here seated before the camera was the amalgamation of poor decision-making, lack of sympathy, and utter tomfoolery. Pointing a finger at the audience in front of him, he heaved a deep breath and proceeded to spit out sentiments laced with venom.
“And let me point out to everyone, this group, they have never said anything good about the government response,” blurted out an angry Harry Roque, with the fervor of a child who missed naptime.
I remember seeing that godforsaken video for the first time on Sept. 10. My hand immediately flew to my mouth in horror. I couldn’t comprehend the fact that, despite everything, there were still people who deluded themselves into thinking that the government had brought this country anything but harm since the gates of hell opened and unleashed this pandemic.
Here I am no longer reeling in shock but still consumed with unbridled rage. How dare this sorry excuse for a public servant speak so jarringly about the medical experts who had been literally hailed as modern-day heroes by the President himself some weeks earlier? The sheer audacity with which Roque equipped himself to be able to publicly berate those who had been the backbone of the response to the health crisis is so beyond me.
This is exactly why we desperately need change.
“A public official … should not be onion skinned,” G.R. No. 111304 states. “He is looked upon to set the example of how public officials should correctly conduct themselves even in the face of extreme provocation … He is expected to act and serve with the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency and shall remain accountable for his conduct to the people.” So many targets to hit, and every single one of them missed by Roque.
Roque’s outburst, along with his subsequent insincere apology, is a testament to the entire Duterte administration—its fascist disposition, sense of impunity, and blatant disregard for the people they are supposed to serve.
He claims that his meltdown was spurred by his desire to defend the “hungry Pinoys.” However, if the government were as adamant to provide assistance to the millions of Filipinos who have been left unemployed and displaced by this pandemic, why did it refuse to provide the P100 emergency wage relief for workers that groups such as the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines asked for? What about the P10,000 cash aid for all families that Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano promised? And the P15,000 production subsidy for the farmers that The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas demanded?
This is why registering to vote matters now more than ever. Young people must be involved in formal political processes and must insist on having a say in shaping both today’s and tomorrow’s politics, in order for us to make a long-term difference. Inclusivity in political participation is not simply a cardinal right in a democracy; it is crucial for the development of communities that are free of conflict and that addresses the needs not just of young people, but of society as a whole.
The youth are the building blocks of the future. Democracies need young people to be involved in official political processes, because their active contributions hold the key to bringing such democratic values alive. Also, voting tyrants and plain incompetents out will help free this country from its authoritarian mindset—there is no act of protest more revolutionary than the mass movement, whether of young people or of other sectors.
I know that this can feel like shouting into the void — air breathed in and out before vanishing into thin air.
But there are millions of us, and we can force change with our choices. This is a call to the youth of this generation who dream of change: Exercise your right to vote, to pave the way for new opportunities that can make our country and the world a better place. Why remain in the shadows when we can be the spark that lights a hundred revolutions?
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Ellyanna Du, 17, is a senior high school student and news writer from Davao.
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