Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima commended Filipino youth leaders for their determination and courage to speak out on pressing national issues and initiative to call out any forms of abuses by the State.
In her message read by her nephew, Ian Serranilla, during the online TownHall Meeting (THM) with youth leaders last Dec. 9, De Lima said she admires the young generation for continuing to stand up for human rights and fight the oppression by the current administration.
“Sa programa nga pong ito kasama ang ating kabataan, lubos akong nagpapasalamat sa inyong pakikiisa hindi lamang sa higit na pagkilala sa akin at sa pag-alam sa aking sitwasyon, kundi sa kahandaan ninyo na iparinig ang inyong boses at makibahagi sa diskusyon ukol sa mga isyung panlipunan,” she said.
“Alam ko na sa modernong panahon na ito, napakarami na ninyong pinagkakaabalahan. Pero pinipili ninyong maglaan ng oras, lakas at dedikasyon para mamulat at mangmulat sa kapwa ninyo kabataan at sa marami pa nating kababayan,” she added.
The Townhall Meeting, entitled “Kilalanin si Senadora Leila: Dumadama, Dumadamay, Lumalaban” tackled De Lima’s legislative achievements and continued political persecution under the Duterte regime, among others.
EveryWoman and Young Feminists Collective member Shebana Alqaseer hosted the forum and was joined by three youth speakers from esteemed universities, namely Kristin Angan (Ateneo de Manila University Sanggunian), Renee Co (University of the Philippines Regent), and Raeyan Reposar (former De La Salle University Law Student Government President).
During these challenging times, De Lima reminded the youth to stay vigilant and get strength from each other as abusive leaders will surely try to ruin their values and principles.
“Sa panahon kung saan naghahari-harian ang mga pinunong sinisira ang ating mga pagpapahalaga at ang tingin sa sarili ay hawak nila ang buhay ng Pilipino at batas sa Pilipinas, susubukin ang tatag ng inyong paninindigan at integridad,” she said.
“Sa kabila ng banta, alam kong hindi po sila magtatagumpay hangga’t nagkakaisa tayo at hindi nasisindak. Naniniwala ako na mas marami tayo, kailangan lang imulat at bigyan din ng lakas ang iba upang magsalita, hindi lang para sa sarili kundi para rin sa kapwa at bansa,” she added.
The lady Senator from Bicol said that amid the presence of evil forces, she hopes that the youth will continue fighting for the country.
“Mahaba-haba pa ang laban, pero natatanaw na po natin ang liwanag sa madilim na yugtong ito ng ating kasaysayan. Patuloy lang po natin na ipaglaban ang nag-iisa at minamahal nating bayan. Siguruhin nating ang susunod na pinuno ay ang magtatanggol sa karapatan at kapakanan ng mga kabataan at ng sambayanan,” she added.
During the said THM, the three youth leaders expressed their support for De Lima’s reelection bid as they expressed admiration for her unbroken spirit amid adversity.
“It’s overwhelming how much Senator Leila has done as a lawmaker, putting the interest of vulnerable sectors like the poor, the elderly, community, youth, women, persons with disability, persons deprived of liberty, and so many more at the forefront of our legislative agenda,” said Angan.
“I would like to thank Senator Leila for her continued fight in many arenas. Her continued activity despite incarceration is a statement itself in how she continues to hold the line and assert stances and policies for the betterment of the Filipino people,” Co said.
Speaking to his fellow youth, Reposar, for his part, stated: “As a member of the youth, we don’t have to let the moral universe to decide for us because in 2022, the decision is in our hands. We bend the moral universe and we define it, we own it, we take up space. Let’s make Senator Leila de Lima win so that this culture of impunity will end.” (30)