For The People

A Speech by a Presidential Candidate

By: Zoe Rein Isobelle J. Florete and John Patrick G. Octavio

Greetings fellow Ilonggos and fellow scholars ng bayan. I remember when I was in college I’d always stop by the beach at sunset and look at how beautiful the world can be. I’d be sitting in front of the college buildings, which by the way is still around today. And of course, speaking of buildings that are still around, is “bangs” still open? Kidding aside, I would like to thank you all for coming to this event, and as well as for the unwavering support you have given me. We came a long way but here we are, and here I am, in front of you students.

Now looking back to where this campaign all started, and to address the question, “Why I ran as the president”, then let me tell you, as a college student of the most prestigious university in the country, it was our responsibility as scholars ng bayan to serve and protect our country and the rights of all the Filipino people. It burdens me that a current crisis has arisen these past few weeks from our brothers and sisters from Mindanao that had been affected by the strong typhoons that had hit our country. Let me take this time, to tell the family of those who had their loved ones lost in that incident, my deepest condolences and let us hope that those people in Mindanao would be helped and eventually saved from that disaster.

To tell you, I had been there, I had seen their suffering, and not in Mindanao, but I had been travelling around the country, and all I saw was people suffering on every corner, inflicted by natural disasters, poverty, and effects of corruption that had made our fellow countrymen suffer. I saw students suffering from injustice, student groups who had been silenced and red tagged as activists. I saw families not able to eat proper meals or even afford proper clothing and housing. I saw the struggles of the Filipino people who cannot afford to send their children to school because of the miscellaneous expenses. I saw Filipino families who are broken because of the lost lives of their family members who tried to fight for the rights of every Filipino but were persecuted because of it. I’ve had enough and I told myself, “This has to end, and this country needs change”.

With all that, I decided whole heartedly to offer my body, spirit, and soul, to serve the Filipino people, as I am not just an advocate for the people, I also have been a student who fought for the rights of students and battled so that everyone could attain free education. As a woman I also had my everyday battles on how to deal with catcalling because of the clothes I wear.

Through running as a president, I can and I will bring change. I advocate that every student must not only attain free education in the form free tuition and school fees, as free education must also mean that there should be no return of service, there should be no other payments in projects and field trips, and most especially free education must also provide for the cost of living of the students, this ensures that every student in the country does not only have free tuition but would also have access to free food, free fare, and free lodging as long as you are enrolled in any university. I want every Filipino, to be able to afford, quality food and eat three meals a day. I want every Filipino to have a household full of happiness and without despair. Most importantly, I want every Filipina to feel safe on the streets even at night without having someone to look over their shoulders. I want our country, the Philippines, to progress into something better, the country that our Filipino heroes sacrificed themselves for and the country that is worth dying for. Let us turn ourselves from being a spectator and start becoming a participant. Help me change the country we live in, into a country without injustice, a country without poverty and corruption. Let this country be full of Filipino people enjoying their rights, to safety and education. Let me serve you and I promise that all will change for the better.

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