Filipinos long for independence from injustices, poverty – De Lima

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Senator Leila M. de Lima has pressed on the Filipino people to voice out their collective disgust against threats to the country’s freedom, such as the influx of illegal Chinese workers and the unabated extrajudicial and summary killings in the country.

De Lima, a known human rights and social justice champion here and abroad, made the call as she sent out her official message in time for the national commemoration of the 121st Philippine Independence Day today (June 12).

While the Philippines has long gained its independence from foreign colonizers several decades ago, the former justice secretary maintained that Filipinos continue to long for freedom from injustices, social inequality, and poverty.

“‘Hindi ka malaya, mahaba lang ang tanikala.’ Ito po ang kasabihan na tila naglalarawan sa sitwasyon ng bansa natin sa kasalukuyan–hindi tayo ganap na malaya. Hindi na nga natin lubusang natatamasa, niyuyurakan pa ang ating karapatan ng mapaniil na pamahalaan,” she said.

“Nariyan ang pamimigay ng ating teritoryo at mga trabaho sa dayuhan, ang pagkakait ng kabuhayan sa ating mga mangingisda, ang panggigipit at pagpapakulong sa mga kritiko ng gobyerno, ang walang habas na pagpatay sa mahihirap pati na sa mga bata, at ang paglapastangan sa ating mga institusyon at Konstitusyon na pundasyon ng ating demokrasya,” she added.

Since Mr. Duterte carried out his so-called war on drugs in July 2016, about 28,176 individuals were killed – 5,176 of whom are considered “drug personalities” while 23,000 are victims under the category of “homicide cases under investigation” (HCUIs).

Based on news reports, more than three million Chinese nationals have been allowed to enter the country since 2016. About 400,000 of these Chinese nationals reportedly are illegally working in the Philippines.

The lady Senator from Bicol lamented that the Filipinos’ independence under the present government has remained at the mercy of greedy and incompetent leaders whose goal in office is to serve their self-interest and perpetuate themselves in power.

“They interpret laws and implement policies based on their caprices; they persecute critics while rewarding their relatives, allies and sycophants,” said the former human rights chief.

Amid the challenges in attaining genuine freedom under Duterte’s leadership, De Lima called on the Filipinos to embody the spirit of patriotism and courage to fight against the government’s crooked policies which curtail human rights and freedom.

“Kaya naman sa paggunita natin sa makasaysayang araw na ito, ituloy po natin ang laban ng magigiting na Pilipinong nag-alay ng dugo at buhay para makamit ang kasarinlan. Tulungan natin ang mga maralita na makaahon sa gutom at kahirapan, silang kahit kapos sa buhay ay buong pagpupursige pa ring nagtatrabaho nang marangal para may maipakain sa kanilang pamilya,” she said.

“Samahan din natin ang ating mga kababayang patuloy na naninindigan, silang mga nasa gobyerno, alagad ng Simbahan o karaniwang mamamayan, para maituwid ang baluktot at mapanagot ang mga tiwali at abusado. Bigyang lakas pa natin ang kabataan na maging mas mulat at makiambag sa pambansang diskurso upang maitaguyod ang tunay na hustisya at reporma sa kalakhang bansa,” she added. Despite her continued unjust detention over trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the Duterte administration, De Lima has still continued to speak out on issues involving national interests through her handwritten statements and dispatches.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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