Using a Game of Thrones reference, Sen. Risa Hontiveros joined the Youth SONA event, sparked the courage and inspiration of the students, and attacked the tolerance of the government towards extra-judicial killings.
|Photo from SenateGov|
On July 18, the #YouthResist, an alternative-SONA in response to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte to on Monday, was held and attended by students and young activists from St. Scholasitca's College in Manila.
The said event was organized by Millennials Against Dictators (MAD), Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), and Akbayan! Youth.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros thanked St. Scholastica's College in Manila, a Catholic school for women , for joining the event. She expressed her appreciation for the courage of the students who went out of their school to join the rally and wave placards the criticize the government.
"I am particularly proud of my fellow Kulasas, ang mga kagaya ni Shibby De Guzman, who poured to the streets to join the protest actions. This despite the online harassment and abuse you took for speaking truth to power. For that, my young friends and fellow women, you will always have my respect and admiration," Sen. Hontiveros said.
The senator took her time to remind the youth of their significance and role in nation-building and initiating change in times of misinformation and war like this.
"We stand here today to tell this government that the millennials are watching. That you are not blind. The youth will not be fooled by fake news and information on social media," Senator Risa Hontiveros expressed to her young audience.
"We will take back the democracy they are stealing from us. And we know this darkness will pass because you, the young, have the light," the senator added.
Sen. Hontiveros then delved deeper into the issue of extra-judicial killings and how the Duterte administration tolerates such inhumane practice.
Moreover, she claimed that 8000 to 12, 000 have been already killed in the course of the President's war on drugs, in contrast to the 2, 000 casualties reported by the government.
"That 8,000-12,000 people have been killed by the government's bloody war on drugs, that this senseless campaign continues despite all the evidence, that murderers are rewarded with reinstatement to their government posts and even promotions; all the senseless death and tragedy is proof that our government does not listen. It does not listen to the poor."
She emphasized how EJK is an anti-poor solution that does not give fair ruling to the poor and the marginalized.
"It kills the young and the poor. It does not respect the truth and democracy, it clouds them with fake news and disinformation. This is something we will not stand for."
In the middle of her speech, the senator reminisced her early years of activism as a student of the same school.
"I am reminded of my own youth. I was 15. And I wore the blue and white of this very school when I and my fellow students led a series of protests against Bataan Nuclear Plant. That moment began a life of larger social involvement. And I am proud that you, many of you, have made the same choice here today."
Senator Hontiveros is quite known to be a rigid critic of the President, remarking that the first year of the Duterte administration is filled with "misogyny"