By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Leila de Lima has called on the youth to step up the fight for human rights as the nation faces a slew of challenges will face in 2019 under the Duterte administration.
De Lima made the call as she urged the public, especially the youth, to lead the nation to tangible changes and “find the courage, will and strength to change” the nation’s course by standing up for human rights.
“I call on our fellow Filipinos, especially the youth, to lead our nation to tangible changes this year—to put an end to violence and impunity through our unified call for justice, and our common commitment to protect human rights and value human lives,” de Lima said in a statement.
“To stop the blatant lies that poison and corrupt the moral fiber of our people by speaking truth to power. To fight tyranny by upholding the rule of law and standing up for our democratic principles,” she stressed.
De Lima noted that in 2018, while President Rodrigo Duterte projected himself as somebody who is pro-poor, he continued to promote extrajudicial killings as part of a “crime prevention” program which resulted to the deaths of more Filipinos.
For the senator, it was unfortunately “only among his many undemocratic policies that worsened the plight of Filipino families and stole away their chances to live a better life in the future.”
“Hanggang ngayon, may mga bagong biktima ng pamamaslang at kawalang katarungan dahil sa karahasan at panggigipit ng pamahalaan (Until now, there are new victims of killings and injustices due to the violence and pressure put by the government),” she said.
“Marami nating kababayan ang lalong kinapos at naghikahos dahil sa mas mataas na buwis at nakakalulang presyo ng bilihin (Many of our fellowmen experienced more lack and became more destitute due to the high taxes and steep prices of basic goods and commodities),” added the lawmaker.
De Lima said the only way to effect change and build a just and humane society is for Filipinos to value their right to suffrage and elect worthy leaders in the 2019 midterm elections.
She said 2019 is a “crucial year” and an opportunity to improve how things are done in the government considering that the people are to elect new leaders in the upcoming elections.
“In a few months, we will decide who will be leading us for another term. Let us scrutinize leaders on how they fulfill their duties, how they influence our youth, and choose those who deserve our trust,” she appealed.