Dear Ciara Sotto

In which we make an unsolicited apology to a solo parent

by The Team


Dear Ciara Sotto,


This is the apology that you likely aren’t going to get from your father.


This is the apology that all solo parents in the Philippines aren’t going to get from your father.


You probably weren’t going to ask for one, since that kind of thing simply isn’t done. You are likely a devoted daughter, and are far more inured to the kinds of things that your father says. He raised you. He provided for you. He likely gave you everything you could ever ask for. And that comes with some obligation to support him when he, on an increasingly regular basis, says something insensitive or inflammatory and refuses to see how he might have hurt people with it.


All the same, we’re sorry.


It doesn’t really take much to say sorry, but in the local public sphere, it seems to be seen as weakness. Your father isn’t alone in this. The entire government hardly ever admits to any fault. No one takes responsibility for gaffes big and small. It’s always someone else’s doing. It’s the trolls. It’s the media. It’s the rare scalawag policeman, who isn’t at all taking advantage of the leeway being given to them under the current leadership. It’s the previous administration. To that end, the previous administration had trouble admitting fault as well. The answer is never “I did something wrong, and I’m sorry. I’m going to try to do better.” It’s “you’re all wrong for thinking this is my fault.” At best, we get the heavily couched non-apology. “I’m sorry you were offended.”


Your father has already blamed the trolls for making a mountain out of his molehill. He’s brought you up in interviews, saying that he couldn’t possibly have anything against mothers who raised children without husbands since he has two daughters who are doing exactly that. What he hasn’t done is say why it was so important to him to utter something so irrelevant in a senate hearing; why it had to be brought up at all, or what it had to do with anything that was going on. Putting aside that what he said wasn’t funny, why did he feel the need to make a joke at all? A confirmation hearing is not an episode of Eat Bulaga.


Does he say things like this to you? In any case, we are sorry.


We are sorry because there just don’t seem to be a lot of people willing to say sorry in this country. And if no one is ever able to admit that something wrong is going on, then we’re never going to able to make things better. We are sorry because we have built an entire culture where a statement like that might elicit laughs in congress. We’re sorry, because an inability to say that would make us complicit in the larger problems that this country faces.


We hope you’re doing okay.


With love and respect,

The Team