This open letter is addressed to my fellow youth voters. We find ourselves embroiled in an interesting time where, more than ever, we must play a most critical role in determining our nation’s future.

On May 9, 2022, we shall cast our votes and elect our next batch of public servants, including our next president. Before we do, let us take this time to remember why we vote, and reflect on what our vote means for our nation and ourselves.

The act of public voting is the core foundation of our democracy. Regardless of station and position, we Filipinos are all equal on Election Day. Our vote holds equal impact and equal sway as any other vote. This is the beauty and the essence of our system of governance: any individual can take part in determining their own future and the quality of life they shall enjoy.

In line with this, in the Commission on Election’s latest tally of 65.7 million registered voters, more than half the voting population hails from the youth sector. Nearly 20 million people alone fall under the 18-29 year old age bracket. Past presidents and senators were elected into position with fewer numbers. Today’s youth make up an historically substantial proportion of the voting population. And it is noticeable as well: unlike the generations before, were the act of voting was often exercised largely by our elders, the energy of the youth to not only vote but to successfully organize, coordinate, and campaign for their chosen candidates is extremely palpable.

Thus, my fellow youth, we are now presented with this great opportunity. An opportunity to impact and influence the lives of the generations before us and the generations yet to come

However, this comes with a heavy responsibility as well. In holding such power, even only for a day, let us ask these questions: what shall we do with this opportunity vested upon us? What nation shall we build? What type of leader should we seek to emulate? What kind of country shall we inherit?

Our vote is not just a single piece of paper – to be tallied on a precinct scoreboard and drowned among millions. The content of our ballot is a reflection of our values. It tells us what kind of person we are, what kind of thinking we conduct, and what quality of life we seek to have for ourselves and for the people around us. Most of all, it represents our hopes, through the act of electing candidates which we believe would shape our nation towards becoming its best version.

As such, I implore you to choose your candidates wisely. Vote those with proven humanitarian acts, concrete accomplishments, and unburdened by a problematic history. Support those who are kind and honest, and fair in their dealings. Most of all, let us elect public servants who prioritize the wellbeing of our beloved country and its people more than their own interests.

Sadly, the days of being children are far over. We cannot remain passive observers, watching elections merely through television screens, wallowing in the blissful ignorance. We have now become voters, and it is time to assume the duties and responsibilities of adulthood that once seemed so far away. And in growing older, we can now finally enact greater changes to our surroundings, and actively participate in the formation of our society.

My fellow youth, let me end this letter with a call to action. Let us become the catalysts of change, ushering candidates with good and solid platforms into position so that they may enact policies for the betterment of our nation. Let us take command of our fates with absolute certainty, and do our very best to ensure we live in a brighter and better future for all.