De Lima: Filipinos yearning for freedom from injustice, poverty
MANILA, Philippines – “Hindi ka malaya, mahaba lang ang tanikala.”
Detained Senator Leila De Lima used this popular Filipino maxim (You aren’t truly free, you’re just on a long leash) to describe the Philippines’ situation amid what she said are “threats” to the country’s freedom, such as the influx of illegal Chinese workers and rampant killings.
While the Philippines has long gained its independence from foreign colonizers, De Lima claimed that Filipinos continue to long for freedom from “injustices, social inequality, and poverty.”
“Hindi ka malaya, mahaba lang ang tanikala.’ Ito po ang kasabihan na tila naglalarawan sa sitwasyon ng bansa natin sa kasalukuyan—hindi tayo ganap na malaya. Hindi na nga natin lubusang natatamasa, niyuyurakan pa ang ating karapatan ng mapaniil na pamahalaan,” De Lima said in a statement as the nation marks its 121st Independence Day.
(We are not totally free. We do not enjoy absolute freedom, and our rights are being trampled upon by the government).
“Nariyan ang pamimigay ng ating teritoryo at mga trabaho sa dayuhan, ang pagkakait ng kabuhayan sa ating mga mangingisda, ang panggigipit at pagpapakulong sa mga kritiko ng gobyerno, ang walang habas na pagpatay sa mahihirap pati na sa mga bata, at ang paglapastangan sa ating mga institusyon at Konstitusyon na pundasyon ng ating demokrasya,” she added.
(Our territories and local jobs are being surrendered to foreigners, farmers and fishermen are deprived of their livelihood, critics of the government are harassed and detained, the poor, even children are killed, and our institutions and Constitution are being disrespected).
De Lima, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration who is facing drug-related charges, added that Filipinos’ independence has remained at the “mercy of greedy and incompetent leaders” whose goal is to serve their self-interest and perpetuate themselves in power.
“They interpret laws and implement policies based on their caprices; they persecute critics while rewarding their relatives, allies and sycophants,” she said.
The senator then called on the Filipinos to embody the spirit of patriotism and courage to fight against the “government’s crooked policies” which she said curtail human rights and freedom.
“Kaya naman sa paggunita natin sa makasaysayang araw na ito, ituloy po natin ang laban ng magigiting na Pilipinong nag-alay ng dugo at buhay para makamit ang kasarinlan. Tulungan natin ang mga maralita na makaahon sa gutom at kahirapan, silang kahit kapos sa buhay ay buong pagpupursige pa ring nagtatrabaho nang marangal para may maipakain sa kanilang pamilya,” she said.
(As we commemorate Independence Day today, let us continue the fight of Filipino heroes who sacrificed their lives for independence. Let us help the poor conquer hunger, and continue to struggle and find decent work to be able to feed their families.) /gsg
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