Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima commended the Filipino youth for consistently serving as voices of dissent by tirelessly calling out the incompetence of the Duterte regime and standing up for justice and human rights.
In her message for the State of the Youth Address (SOYA) held today (July 19), De Lima urged the youth to further inspire genuine change in the country by registering as voters in next year’s elections before the registration deadline on September 30, and by ensuring that they will vote for worthy leaders.
“I commend the organizers and participants of this meaningful gathering, a proof of the youth’s collective commitment in calling out the wrongs in society, and our unity to defend our rights and freedoms,” she said.
“Thank you for your courageous voice to enlighten your fellow youth and fellow Filipinos about the dire state of our nation, to raise the level of public discourse, and to stand up for our cherished ideals and aspirations as a nation,” she added.
In urging the youth to choose worthy leaders, De Lima, an election lawyer before she entered public office, said that they should continue doing their part in nation-building and pursuing the needed change for the best interests of our countrymen.
“Hinihikayat ko kayo na magparehistro upang makaboto sa susunod na halalan,” the lady Senator said. “Bumoto para sa de-kalidad na edukasyon. Bumoto para sa karapatang pantao. Bumoto para sa hustisya. Bumoto para sa ating teritoryo at soberanya.”
“Bumoto para sa ekonomiya. Bumoto para wakasan ang mga trolls at fake news. Bumoto para sa responsable at epektibong pagtugon sa pandemya. Hindi baril, kundi bakuna. Hindi dahas, kundi ayuda,” De Lima added.
The gathering of youth was held just a few days before President Duterte’s sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26.
De Lima said she expects Duterte’s last SONA to be filled with lies considering that he achieved nothing but promote killings and violence and oppress critics in his years in office.
“Ang tanong ng kabataan at ng sambayanan: Anyare sa pangakong 3-6 months ni Duterte?! Unlimited 3-6 months pala ang tinutukoy ng rehimeng ito. Huling SoNa na ni Duterte, mag-si-six years na, ang tanging ganap lang ay patayan, mga kapalpakan, at panggigipit sa kritiko. Malinaw na ang mga pangako ni Duterte at mga ilalatag niya sa huling SoNa—bilang lame duck—ay #PaSóNa!,” De Lima said.
“Sino pa ba kasing maniniwala sa tao na paulit-ulit kang pinaasa at paulit-ulit ding nagsinungaling. Biruin niyo, ilang beses na siyang nagsabi na pagod na raw siya. Paano siya mapapagod, eh wala naman siyang ginagawa? Pagod na raw at gusto nang magresign sa pagka-Pangulo. Tapos, gusto ngayong mag-VP? Malaking kalokohan ito!,” she stressed.
In a separate statement, De Lima said: “Age restrictions for running for office notwithstanding, many of our Youth Leaders have been showing that they are far more competent and deserving to run for public office than many of these trapos who claim to be anti-elitists, but are, in reality, have been using the trust, plight and misery of the Filipino people to pad their bank accounts.”
“Age is a substitute gauge for maturity. Pero sa totoo lang, mas malalim at malawak pa ang pang-unawa ng mga kabataan tungkol sa kung ano ang totoong ibig-sabihin ng `pagsisilbi sa Bayan.’ Their uncompromised integrity and their courage to demand for a better government than they currently have ought to be protected at all cost, De Lima added” (30)