Spare OFWs from disinformation – De Lima

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Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has called out on Mr. Duterte to spare overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from disinformation not only about her and her vocal opposition to his murderous war on drugs but also about the true state of the country’s economy.

De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said our hardworking Filipino workers abroad deserve to know the truth, particularly about how his administration is failing miserably in arresting the rising prices of basic commodities.

“Duterte should stop feeding our OFWs with intrigues, lies and disinformation. Unfortunately, he’s incapable of providing us the direction, guidance and much less, the inspiration at a time when we struggle to make both ends meet,” she said.

“Tell the public the truth, Mr. Duterte. We deserve better than gimmicks and cheap shots at your critics. What our OFWs need to know is how this government is failing in arresting the rising inflation that makes their families at home poorer,” she added.

In his recent meeting with the Filipino community in Amman, Jordan, Mr. Duterte urged OFWs to ignore his critics and their claims that his administration’s all-out war on illegal drugs is encouraging the growing incidents of extrajudicial killings in the country.

He also lashed out at the international community for calling Senator de Lima as a “prisoner of conscience” due to her vocal opposition to his administration’s all-out war on drugs that resulted in the death of more than 23,000 suspected drug offenders.

Mr. Duterte also took the occasion during the gathering with the OFWs to spread rumors about the supposed sex video of Senator de Lima and his former bodyguard in a cheap and desperate attempt to slut-shame her before the Filipino community.

De Lima pointed out that Duterte and his paid purveyors of disinformation should focus on the real issues besetting the country and the Filipinos working abroad instead of employing their evil tactics to salvage the sagging image of Duterte and his allies.

“Pati mga OFWs natin na nagpapakahirap at nagtatrabaho nang marangal sa ibang bansa, niloloko nila. Sa halip na mga kasinungalingan para pagtakpan ang mga tunay na problema sa Pilipinas, dapat malaman nila kung ano ang kongkretong plano ng gobyerno para mapabuti ang kapakanan ng Pilipino, sa loob at labas ng bansa,” she said.

De Lima also said she hopes that the OFWs can enjoy the benefits of social media, especially in terms of it being a tool to conveniently communicate with their loved ones, even as she warned them to “always discern and be critical about the information they read online.”

The former justice secretary herself has been continually targeted by fake news stories by some sinister quarters aiming to deliberately tarnish her reputation and silence her from calling out the excesses of the administration in its all-out war on drugs.

“Ridiculous and far-fetched these fake videos and false contents are, the depressing reality is that most social media users especially among OFWs targeted by pro-Duterte pages tend to be fooled into believing them. The troll army is good at peddling lies,” De Lima said.

In the past, there were online reports that falsely claimed she had stepped down as senator, that she purchased a USD6-million mansion in New York, USA, and that detained De Lima was hospitalized after attempting secret suicide, among many others.

Last January 2017, De Lima delivered a fiery privilege speech to denounce the unabated proliferation of fake news on the Internet and other social networking sites, where she likened fake news to a “virus” that could “bring about a zombie apocalypse.”

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