Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today called on the Filipino youth to continue fighting the lies peddled by the Duterte administration as they demand the government to address the pressing societal issues affecting both the younger and older generations.
In her message read during the National Day of Action for Education, Freedom and Democracy today, De Lima lauded the youth for leading the fight for quality education and for defending the rule of law, democracy and human rights, among others.
“Napakahalaga ng ganitong mga pagkilos na mismong mga kabataang tulad ninyo ang nangunguna, hindi lamang sa social media, kundi maging sa pagmartsa para labanan ang kasinungalingan at tugunan ng gobyerno ang iba pang suliranin ng bayan: ang pagtataguyod ng patas at mataas na antas ng edukasyon para sa lahat, tiyak na trabaho at sapat na sweldo, at ang ipinangako nilang solusyon sa kalbaryo ng trapiko,” she said.
The event, held at the University of the Philippines (UP), was attended by several youth organizations, student councils and campus journalists from different colleges and universities in Metro Manila.
According to the Senator from Bicol, the Duterte administration’s flawed and undemocratic policies not only poison the Filipino youth’s impressionable minds but also steal away their hope for better opportunities in the future.
While Duterte proclaims himself as pro-poor, De Lima said the President continues to promote extrajudicial killings to prevent crime, which resulted to the deaths of people, including children and young students, mostly coming from poor families.
“Kayong mga kabataan ang siyang mamumuno sa ating bayan sa mga susunod na taon. Pero ang tanong natin: Anong klaseng pamahalaan at kinabukasan ang inyong dadatnan, kung ngayon pa lang, kinukunsinte ang patayan, karahasan, kasinungalingan, at paniniil sa ating mga karapatan at demokrasya?” she said.
Calling into mind the fate of the innocent children caught in the barrage since Duterte launched his war on drugs last year, De Lima noted, “Ano nga ba ang itinuturo ng gobyernong ito sa ating mga kabataan? Na ayos lang pumatay ng 30 katao kada araw, kabilang ang mga estudyanteng sina Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz at Kulot de Guzman para tumahimik ang lipunan?”
Delos Santos was killed by the cops for allegedly fighting out with the arresting officers during a drug raid in Caloocan City last Aug. 16. Police have also been accused of summarily executing 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz for purportedly robbing a taxi driver, two days after the death of De los Santos.
Three weeks later, the body of 14-year-old student Reynaldo de Guzman, who was last seen accompanying Arnaiz, was then found in Gapan, Nueva Ecija with 30 stab wounds while his head was wrapped in packing tape.
De Lima further denounced the culture of impunity in the country and the administration’ brazen disregard for the rights of women and the Philippines’ territorial claims in the South China Sea, locally referred as the West Philippine Sea.
“Palibhasa, kung anong tapang magsalita at magbanta ni Duterte sa harap ng publiko, kung paano niya dustahin ang mga maralita, siya namang pagkaduwag nito kapag nagsalita ang China. Samahan pa ng mga kaalyado ng Pangulo na kung umasta, akala mo, pagmamay-ari nila ang Pilipinas at pera nila ang Pambansang Budget,” she said.