Some are first-time voters; others too young to vote. But the Cheerleaders for Leni & Kiko share a passion for dance and volunteerism
Justin Christopher Bonifacio, 22, De La Salle College of St. Benilde
“I decided to join because I get to campaign for the people who I believe can successfully run this country while doing what I love — cheerleading. As one of the pioneers of the group, I decided to start Cheerleaders for Leni & Kiko in an attempt to represent the dance and sports community. Another reason is that we’ve witnessed many cheerleaders fall into the trap of misinformation. It is our way of helping the community through performance and bringing facts to light.
“It is inspiring to see the usual rivals come together for a common cause. Personally, I find witnessing the trust, cooperation, and camaraderie established among individuals from different teams the true personification of unity.
“Being a volunteer is both gratifying and scary at the same time. There are going to be times when you will be bullied and ridiculed. People will conjure made-up information to tear the team down, but you have to remember that it is not only you that you are fighting for. You are fighting for your family, friends, and fellow Filipinos, including those who oppose you. You have to keep the desire to fight for your country alive. Keep the fire burning.”
Christian Paul Alimagno, 18, Immaculate Concepcion Academy-West Campus
“I decided to join Cheerleaders for Leni & Kiko because I stand for what is right and for what is truth. Cheerleaders for Leni & Kiko is not just all about the movement, but it shows how the people are passionate and dedicated to volunteer.
“I had to adjust to focus on Cheerleaders for Leni & Kiko. But it made me stronger and braver because I knew I could do everything for the movement and for our country. Being a cheerleader is really not easy—it takes time, effort, and discipline, but as long as you have your passion, dedication, and determination, you can do anything.
“Though there were people around me who asked, “May bayad ka ba diyan?” or “Nag-e-effort ka para lang sa mga ganyan,” I handled it with a smile and told them “Ipaglalaban kita at kasama ka sa ipinaglalaban ko.” I know I can’t change their minds on who they want to vote for. That is why as a proud #YouthKakamPink, I am one of the voices that needs to hear and understand by opening their minds to the truth and reality.
“’Volunteerism’ is a big word. It would not be possible for us to perform without the people who help us, who volunteer to give us a support.”
Reyden Andrino, 14, Immaculate Conception Academy
“I was inspired by my coach and other teammates. I believe that even if I’m too young to vote, I can still do what’s best for our country. And even if we come from different schools, we have a common goal and the same mindset. It felt like I’ve trained with them for a long time. I may be young, but I care about my future.”
Gabby Gutierrez, 23, De La Salle College of St. Benilde
“I wanted to show my support for VP Leni, Senator Kiko, and all the senatorial candidates of Tropang Angat by using my talent as a cheerleader.
“I first performed in the Cavite rally held in General Trias, then in Pasig, then Pampanga. The day before the Cavite rally, patulog na kami but then suddenly naalala ko I need to take my midterm exam kasi may oras siya. So nilaban ko talaga. Then ‘nung kakatapos lang ng Pampanga rally, while we were on our way to SM Clark, I had a class at 9 am. Sakto pagdating namin sa SM Clark, 9 am na, so inuuna ko muna ‘yun while we waited for other members. After the tech run, which nangyari siya nung gabi, nag-quiz ako right after kasi may oras din siya.
“Sa mga rally, malakas ‘yung bayanihan, pagtutulungan, at pakikipagkapwa tao. Sa Cavite rally nasa harap kami, tapos sa likod namin ‘yung mga supporters na senior citizen napagkadami. We noticed na uhaw na uhaw na sila and gutom. Buti nalang may mga sobra kaming bottled waters and food and ‘di kami nag-hesitate na bigyan sila while waiting for Madam Leni and tuwang-tuwa sila after no’n.
“Even if the members of Cheerleaders for Leni & Kiko come from different school, sobrang saya ang pakiramdam. Not all of us know each other and we come from different squads and universities. But our competitiveness against each other nawawala, napalitan siya ng unity to show our support for Madam Leni and Senator Kiko.
“If a member chooses to vote for someone else, we don’t fight them. Instead, we give them hope na once si Leni ang pinili nila, malaking malaki ang chance na may pag-asa tayong lahat bumangon.”
Special thanks to Coach Ajjie Mendelebar