So, the Presidential elections were done; our votes have been marked, counted, and declared. Filipinos want change. Congratulations, Mr. Rody Duterte, for challenging us to step out of our comfort zones and to try something new – be it being amenable to a curfew, no smoking in public places, or changing the way we feel when we hear cuss words. Indeed, regardless if we are ready not, change is here. But as to whether the change Digong brings is good or bad, we are yet to know.

Allow me to confess, my dear friends. I am one of the 16 million who voted for Digong (and one of the 14 million who voted for Leni!). So yes, you can count me among the plurality of voters who want to see a different face, a different perspective, a different leader. For other people, I am one of those who so haphazardly toyed with fire by voting for a checkered-wearing trash-talking guy whose favorite words will get you whacked at your behind if you dare speak it in front of your mother.

Unfortunately, voting is the easy part. Digong won by a landslide, we have been heard. So what happens now?

Voting for Digong signifies that it is change that we want, so change we get, and change, we must. It may be as simple as a change in perspective. How about trying to be a critical supporter – to not follow blindly, and instead, speak up, move up, and act if we see something that we feel is against our morals. For every praise and support we give to Digong’s positive decisions and policies (and there are many!), it is also our duty to let him know that there are other ways of doing things, that we are not simply waiting for him to err, but we are here to give advice, to guard him from jeopardizing the democracy we have fought so hard to achieve, to tirelessly remind him that women and human rights are inalienable and must be respected at all times. We are criticizing him not for the sake of pointing out his mistakes, but because we want him to succeed, because his success is our own success as a nation.

Let’s make ourselves count, take on the cudgels for people and creatures who cannot be heard. Your act of doing is crucial for this country to realize the change it wants to happen. By changing, and being the change, we are contributing to nation-building. No excuses, ifs, or buts.

There are no small acts: your voice and your actions form part of the step this country takes – whether towards or away from the progressive nation we are hoping to be.

Today, on World Environment Day, I invite you to be brave. I invite you to take on the fight for our future and our environment. You are the hero you are waiting for; the savior we have all prayed for.

Exercise the power. What change will you do?