Senator Risa Hontiveros, the incoming opposition leader, vowed on Monday, June 27, to continue advocating for the protection of the country’s democratic institutions as she warned “people who bear false information” that the fight for the truth will be pursued.
“May we all remain strong for the fierce battle ahead. Tuloy ang laban,” she said in a speech delivered during her oath-taking ceremony at the Quezon City Reception House (QCRH) before outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo.
The only candidate of the opposition to win in the recently concluded May 2022 polls, Hontiveros stressed that she will remain a staunch advocate in protecting constitutional freedoms and the most basic human rights of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press.
“But we will not tolerate people who bear false information. We will fight back harder, against rumors, lies, propaganda, and fake news,” she said.
“Let me make this even clearer: this is a stern warning to all the dubious characters in the fake news universe: This time, we will not let your reckless disregard for truth slander our democracy—our country— ever again,” the senator, a reelectionist, added.
Though technically a member of the Akbayan Party, Hontiveros ran under the Senate slate of Robredo and running mate Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.
She was the lone candidate of the opposition to clinch a seat in the Senate’s Magic 12.
Despite it, Hontiveros promised to continue supporting and working with Robredo, other opposition leaders, parties, and movements “to redress inequality on the ground.”
“We have always been a nation choosing to hope: for a fresh start, for better outcomes, for progress. But we have no time to lose. Every effort counts. Every day is a chance for me, and for us in government, to do justice to every Filipino,” she said.
Among the bills she will file and support once the 19th Congress starts would be legislation that will “spur economic growth and restore healthcare services disrupted by the pandemic”, increase the budget for agriculture, the Universal Social Pension for senior citizens, the Magna Carta for workers in the informal and gig economy, and another bill for the maternity benefits of female workers.
Hontiveros said she would also push for the use of the money collected from excise taxes and VAT petroleum products to expand the service contracting program for public utility drivers.