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Letter of apology

I am sorry. I am sorry that I voted for him. It wasn’t my intention to drag this country into shambles.

I am sorry that I didn’t do research before stepping into my precinct and casting my vote. I thought the clamor was enough — convincing and certain — that this country would soon rise from the doldrums of the past. I was 18, a first-time voter. But I realized soon enough that it wasn’t an excuse to elect a megalomaniac.

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I am sorry for ignoring the rape jokes and homophobic comments. Women deserve far better than being treated like sex objects, and the LGBT community as punchlines in political insults, amid a society filled with misogynists, sexists, and patriarchs.

I am sorry for the innocent lives lost, for the dreams of children crushed by shrapnel and bullets. No amount of apology will ever bring their existence back to life, and no expression of regret will ever glue broken families back together. I carry the remorse with me — every pang of guilt hurting my heart, especially at the sight of bullets soaked in blood.

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I apologize to every laborer, farmer, and fisherman who has had to struggle with local and foreign oppression in their own land, supported by an oppressive system steered by political cronies and capitalists. We were deceived by their false sense of nationalism, and now we find ourselves alone in resisting the threats to our sovereignty.

I apologize to our journalists who fought and continue to fight for the truth. I have made your job more difficult and dangerous by enabling purveyors of disinformation and propaganda to cover up the widespread corruption and rot plaguing our cities and communities.

I apologize to our red-tagged lawyers, activists, and those who wage the fight against the suppression of the rights we struggle to enjoy today. Your lives have been put at stake, yet all of you have opted to stay to keep the flame of our democracy alive. I have come to appreciate the importance of dissent, human rights, and due process because of the bravery you continue to show.

I apologize to our health care providers who have been callously abandoned by the government, working tirelessly in a defective health care system, their skills and lives devoted to the brutal, unfairly compensated work of serving the people. Bad politics has put public health in a deadlock, progressively deteriorating without the requisite acknowledgment by our government that this has been the result of bad governance.

I apologize to all of my fellow Filipino citizens, young and old, who are going through the bloody absurdity our nation is facing today. I regret casting my ballot on that fateful Monday afternoon, duped and unprepared, without knowing ahead of time the consequences it would bring to my country. I wish I had known better, and earlier. I wish I had learned and realized that, at all times, we deserve better.

I am sorry that it all started with a single vote. I promise it will never happen again.

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John Dexter Canda, 23, is a teaching assistant and a third-year medical student.

Visit inqyoungblood.com.ph

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TAGS: Duterte supporter, John Dexter Canda, Rodrigo Duterte, Voting, Young Blood
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