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DEFYING RISKS

Duterte critic among Time’s 30 most influential teens

/ 07:29 AM November 04, 2017

SHIBBY DE GUZMAN: “I just thought that it was the right thing to do.” —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

She was bashed on social media last year for protesting extrajudicial killings and the hero’s burial accorded authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos during a rally, with netizens describing her and the contingent of students from St. Scholastica’s College as “brainwashed.”

But standing up for her beliefs gained Grade 9 student Shibby de Guzman a slot in the list of the “30 Most Influential Teens of 2017” released on Thursday by Time Magazine.

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The annual list recognizes youth from around the world “across numerous fields” for their “global impact through social media and the overall ability to drive news.”

Protesting the “lionization” of Marcos and speaking out against President Duterte was “a risky move,” the magazine said, describing how Mr. Duterte lashed out against the European Union, Oxford University and outspoken critic Sen. Leila de Lima.

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“None of this has deterred De Guzman,” the magazine noted.

In an interview with the Inquirer, De Guzman expressed surprise and excitement over her inclusion in the list, which also cited one of her favorite celebrities, Millie Bobby Brown.

‘Right thing to do’

“I think that I didn’t really earn my spot, but I did use the opportunity (given me) to do good,” she said. “I just thought that it was the right thing to do.”

The young activist said she wanted to make a change and do something about the injustice she was witnessing in the country.

“I wanted to spark something inside the minds of those who (are) in control,” De Guzman said, adding that she believes change will “always start with youthful idealism.”

In a photo taken from the rally almost a year ago and splashed on social media, then 13-year-old De Guzman was with fellow students during an anti-Marcos protest. The bespectacled teen had a megaphone in hand and a cardboard sign around her neck that said “Lahat tayo posibleng drug pusher  (We might all be taken for drug pushers),” in reference to placards found on drug suspects killed in the government’s war on illegal drugs.

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De Guzman shut down her online critics who said she had been “brainwashed” with this response: “Please do not underestimate the youth. We completely know and understand the injustice we are protesting against,” she wrote.

Another Filipino also made it to the list, 19-year-old beauty guru Bretman Rock.

Time traced the Hawaii-based teen’s huge Instagram following of nearly 9 million to his “larger-than-life personality.”

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TAGS: Bretman Rock, Ferdinand Marcos, Philippine news updates, Shibby De Guzman, Time magazine
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