De Lima praises youth activists for serving as voices of dissent

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has heaped praises on Filipino youth activists for being the voices of dissent in the country by standing up for human rights, protecting Filipinos’ democratic ideals and fighting against oppressive regime.

In her message read at the 18th anniversary celebration of Kabataan Partylist last June 19, De Lima thanked the youth activists for choosing “the road less travelled” which allows them to fight tyranny and inspire genuine change in the country.

“Ilang henerasyon na ng pang-aapi at kawalang-katarungan ang nagisnan namin, at minsan hindi maiwasang manghina ang loob dahil tila hindi na yata natin makikita pa ang araw na sumikat muli sa ating bayan,” she said.

“Pero ano ang karapatan naming sumuko kung kayong mga kabataan ay walang tigil sa paghugot ng aral sa lipunang ating ginagalawan, buong puso na yumayakap sa masang api, buong tapang na lumalaban sa isang sistemang paulit-ulit na lang tayong niyuyurakan,” she added.

De Lima’s message of solidarity was read by youth activist Raoul Manuel, also national president of National Union of Students of the Philippines, during the Kabataan anniversary celebration at the Commission on Human Rights, Quezon City last June 19.

While it became easy for other Filipinos to turn a blind eye on the injustices under Mr. Duterte’s rule, De Lima said she believes that the youth activists were among the few who never turned their backs to the mass atrocities happening nationwide.

“Mahirap gumalaw. Kaya minsan tila mas maigi pang panoorin mo na lang sa telebisyon, pakinggan mo na lang sa radyo, basahin mo na lang sa diyaryo ang mga karumal-dumal na nangyayari sa paligid, maari kang makaramdam ng kaunting kilabot, ipagkikibit-balikat mo na lang pagkatapos. It is supposed to be easy to just shrug it off, lalo na kung hindi ka apektado,” said the former justice secretary.

“Pero hindi. Because every time we turn our backs to the atrocities happening around us, we allow the culture of fear and impunity to permeate deeper into our core, hanggang dumating ang panahon na hindi na tayo masusulasok sa lansa ng dugong dumadaloy sa mga estero at kanal, hanggang ang mga putok ng baril ay musika na sa ating pandinig,” she added.

Considering that the war that the Duterte administration declared against its own people has narrowed the space for dissent, De Lima urged the youth to help push for the passage of the Human Rights Defenders’ Bill in the Senate this coming 18th Congress by expressing their unequivocal support for this meaningful legislation.

“Magtulungan po tayo upang maisulong at maipasa sa Senado ang Human Rights Defender’s bill. Panahon na upang magkaroon ng batas na magtatanggol sa mga nakikipaglaban para sa karapatang-pantao,” De Lima said.

“Asahan po ninyo ang aking pakikiisa at ng aking opisina sa ating hangarin na mabigyang hustisya ang mga biktima ng administrasyong ito at ang tuluyang paglaya ng bayan mula sa kuko ng isang diktador,” she added. De Lima has vowed to refile the Human Rights Defenders’ Protection bill in the upcoming 18th Congress after her measure remained unacted upon by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon in the previous Congress.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

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