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  • Writer's pictureJme Foronda

Halalan2022 (part 1)

Where do I even begin.

When current VP Leni Robredo announced her run for the Presidency for 2022, I was somewhat apathetic. I am far removed from the Philippines and have little stake or care with what's happening. I watched through disinterested eyes as people started posting about candidates and etc. Okay.

Since I was working on Philippine indigenous people, I thought I'd try to help out somewhat (and ride the trending wave) by making Leni Robredo art. She has been photographed visiting indigenous groups around the Philippines and given the honor of wearing their garb.

My sister did a well-researched writeup on her programs for indigenous people. And apparently she has a lot and she quite obviously does care about them. Anyway, I thought that was that.

But as the elections got nearer, it was amazing to see the groundswell of support for her grassroots movement. People started wearing pink en masse and all these amazing artists were making art and murals for free. Robert Alejandro of Papemelroti has made tons of heartwarming artwork depicting support for Robredro from all walks of life (farmers, average people, public transport drivers, pageant winners, PWDs, clergymen, etc...). Who is this woman who inspired so much?

It turns out, the more I read about here, I couldn't help but feel.....hope? Here was someone who legitimately wanted something better for the Philippines. Someone who wanted to give a voice to the marginalized in society. Someone who was willing to forsake a comfortable life and be in service to the Filipino people. And it was just not all empty talk. She has numerous programs in place to make life better for the downtrodden, and what's more.... people see the good she's doing AND WANT TO DO THE SAME.

I've heard people say Evil is a slippery slope. It's so easy to slide down into the Dark Side. But Leni has shown Good can also be a slippery slope. People see a leader (or even just someone else) doing Good and it's CONTAGIOUS. They themselves WANT to be something better. Who is this leader who inspires people to become better versions of themselves?

I was a little shaky and perhaps a bit too late in the campaign, but I didn't care. I suddenly felt HOPE in my chest and I somehow needed to get it out in the only way I know how: Art. I started listening to Nica Del Rosario's song, Rosas, and I was able to make this in a day.

I started crying when I listened to the song. Here is a portion of what really hits me hard:

At hindi ko maipapangako ang kulay rosas

Na mundo para sa 'yo

At hindi ko maiilawan ang lahat ng anino

Pero sisikapin ko at hindi ako magpapahinga

Hangga't hindi mo pa magawang muling ipagmalaki

Na ika'y isang Pilipino

Which translates to:

And I cannot promise a rose-colored

World for you

And I cannot promise to Light every bit of Darkness

But I will do my best and I will not rest

Until you can once again be proud

That you are a Filipino.

And it really REALLY hits me hard. Because I remember having more than one conversation with friends from the Philippines and friends in the US about how I was so ashamed to be a Filipino under the Duterte administration.

I made another artwork. The feeling in my chest was so Big, So BIG I had no choice but to make art.

As a tribute to the Creatives who, like me, are so Inspired and so full of Hope that they CREATE.

Then one day, my sister (who is an agriculturist, specializing in bugs), requested a graphic for Agriculturists For LeniKiko. She has a vested interest in Kiko Pangilinan (the man running as Leni Robredo's VP), because Kiko Pangilinan is a farmer himself. In a day, I created this for me and posted it on my social media:

For good measure, I also made this for my sister's girlfriend:

Within a few hours, I was blown away by how many people started sharing and some using it for their profile photos. It made me feel good to see people happy to see themselves represented in art, and to show their support for the LeniKiko campaign.

This resulted in a few more LeniKiko art:

The Nanays (Moms) For LeniKiko art had a huge amount of shares, and by happy accident, it was because Mother's Day was just a few days away. But what really got me was the shares came with their own versions of "this is for you, anak (son/daughter)". I was crying every time I saw a post with that.

Needless to say, I have never felt so much HOPE be this tangible - something you can grab and hold close to your chest. The desire of so many Filipinos, their HUNGER for change.

Going back to the song Rosas. If you really analyze the lyrics, look at it thru neutral lens, there is no mention of a specific candidate, not even mention of religion or god. All it says is the Leader we need is someone who SERVES the people, to the very limits of her capabilities. What we need, as a People, is love and kindness to get us out of the Darkness.

So, who is this woman who inspires so much HOPE? Who inspires all these Creatives to freely share their talents of art, song, music, dance for the people and for their belief that the Philippines can be better? Who is this woman who inspires People to be a MUCH BETTER version of themselves?

She is Maria Leonor "Leni" Gerona Robredo. A Filipina lawyer, politician, and social activist... and the symbol of the Good the Philippines is capable of Being.


Philippine Elections are on May 9, 2022. If you are able, please VOTE.

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