By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Filipino people to speak up for truth and stand up for human rights amid incessant threats and intimidation by the Duterte regime against those who call out the excesses of the government.
De Lima, a staunch social justice and human rights champion, made the statement following the release of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealing that more Filipino adults believe that it is dangerous to broadcast or print anything critical of the Duterte administration.
“Sa matagumpay na pagpapasara ng ABS-CBN, pagbabanta sa Rappler at Inquirer, panggigipit kay Maria Ressa at sa iba pang mamamahayag at kritiko, talagang tumatak na sa mas nakararaming Pilipino na mapanganib ang mag-ulat ng negatibo o puna sa rehimeng Duterte,” said De Lima.
“Nagbabadya itong diktadurya, kung saan may namamayaning takot at pag-aalinlangan sa pag-uulat at paglalathala na magbubunyag ng totoo at kabulastugan sa gobyerno. Dapat mabago ang ganitong pananaw para marami pa ang mamulat at mahikayat na magsalita,” De Lima added.
The results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted on Nov. 21 to Nov. 25 last year and posted only on the pollster’s website last March 19 found that 65 percent of 1,500 respondents nationwide agreed with the statement: “It is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration even if it is the truth.”
Only 16 percent disagreed, while 18 percent remained undecided. The responses have a net agreement score of +49, considered by SWS as “strong.”
Reportedly, net agreement with the statement was highest in Mindanao (+58), where Duterte hails from, followed by Visayas (+55), rest of Luzon (+47), and Metro Manila (+30).
De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said the Filipino people should continue to speak up for truth and what is right, now more than ever because the country is experiencing a health crisis and human rights abuses continue to run rampant.
“We cannot let this government continue abusing its power, disregarding people’s rights, and repressing the vulnerable. We need to seize every opportunity to get involved in social causes, defend the victims of injustice and stand up always for human rights for our sake and for the sake of the generations to come,” she said.
Since Mr. Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016, the Filipinos have seen his administration blatantly deceive the citizenry with utter lies and massive propaganda for their personal and political gains.
De Lima has been among the favorite targets of attacks by Mr. Duterte and his minions. She remains detained over bogus drug charges fabricated by the Duterte regime. (AI/MTVN)