An Open Letter to the President of the Philippines

March 19, 2019

Dear President Rodrigo Duterte,

We apologize. We apologize that instead of words of praise, you were bombarded with words of hate. We fully understand your outrage towards the priests wishing you death. No one should be subjected to that kind of ill treatment, most especially the President of the Philippines. Priests are role models who are supposed to spread love and peace. We too, are shocked and confused as to why these statements were made.  There is no excuse to this act of hate.

As Filipinos, you have five young adults agreeing that you did not deserve to be disrespected. Instead of praise for all the improvements you’ve made for the country, you were being pushed down by powerful figures that have their words of hate louder than their gratitude. We believe that no other president has been as assertive and as firm as you. The Philippines has greatly progressed and for that we will forever be thankful.

But above being a Filipino, we are Catholics. Being Catholic means that we do not equate these words of hate to our religion as a whole. We were taught to only speak words of love and praise. To be gentle and kind is what Christ tells us to do, in fact we condemn such hate speech towards you. On behalf of the Catholics in this country, we deeply apologize for the disrespect that you have experienced.

In light of the recent events regarding God and the Church, as Catholics, we are continuously trying to understand the reasoning behind your bold statement. Although you always have the right to speak freely, we just simply request that your anger should not be projected to the religion as a whole. Catholics consists of 80 percent of this country and rest assured that those who truly practice the faith would not think of speaking such words of disgust. Filipino Catholics have done nothing but pray for your strength and success in dealing with matters regarding the country’s safety. It is incredibly selfish and unfair of you to personally degrade the nation. We believe that although these statements come from our leaders, we do not share their belief on this. Many Filipino Catholics are very supportive of you as we are, and we hope you understand us that despite our leaders you do not condemn our religion and speak ill of our faith.

As a democratic country, we were promised that one can live their life without backlash. A person’s decision to marry or not is not the concern of the president anymore. The country has been peaceful all these years because the government and the church do not bash on each other. Though it may seem near to impossible, we are hopeful that the church and government can go back to the peaceful days where one institution does not feel more powerful than the other. There has been so much tension between the government and the Church and we hope that this will be the last issue that will arise. After all, we are all Filipinos and we should be united. Catholic or not, we are a family. Instead of bringing each other down, we should all stand strong to ensure that our country sustains it’s peace and safety.

 

Respectfully yours,

Louise, Gayle, Therese, Marcella, Ann