De Lima files reso honoring Nobel Peace awardee Maria Ressa

Published October 13, 2021, 11:10 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Leila de Lima has joined the list of senators who have expressed their admiration for veteran journalist Maria Ressa for being the first Filipino recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her extraordinary courage and efforts in fighting for truth, democracy, freedom of expression and the press.

In filing Senate Resolution No. 930, De Lima said it is incumbent for the Senate to congratulate the founder and CEO of Rappler, as this would “signify to the Filipino people that the Senate remains true to its principles as a bastion of democracy, freedom, truth, justice and independence.”

“Maria Ressa’s historic feat is definitive proof that press freedom is still universally recognized as a critical component in any functional democracy, and a monumental slap in the face of oppressive and tyrannical regimes, both past and present,” de Lima said.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced recently that Ressa is one of two media personalities who won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for their work to protect freedom of the press and freedom of expression last Oct. 8. She is the first Filipino to win such award.

The Committee highlighted how Ressa “uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines” especially under the Duterte administration.

The reelectionist senator said Ressa’s win is as remarkable as it is symbolic, especially under severe oppressive circumstances surrounding those who speak truth to power.

“At a crucial time for journalists in the Philippines, Ressa’s victory sends a message loud and clear: the world is watching and democracy overcomes even the strongest forces to subdue it,” she said.

Aside from De Lima, some of the senators who have been vocal about lauding Ressa’s Nobel Peace Prize award were Senators Grace Poe, Franklin Drilon, Richard Gordon, Francis Pangilinan, Panfilo Lacson.

Senators who have so far pushed for a Senate Medal of Excellence for Ressa are Drilon, De Lima, Pangilinan, Gordon, Senator Risa Hontiveros, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.

Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, a known ally of the Duterte administration, meanwhile said he finds the grant of a Nobel Peace Prize for Ressa “wrong,” disputing that the country’s press freedom and democracy is working.