MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima said she hopes 2017 will herald more respect for human rights in the country after the spate of extrajudicial killings in 2016.
“With the coming of the New Year, I believe in the compassion of Filipinos toward their fellow Filipinos and respect for human rights,” De Lima said in Filipino in her New Year message, sent to the media on Saturday, December 31.
De Lima, among the fiercest critics of President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody war on drugs, remembered the victims of drug-related killings in her message. (READ: Impunity: The night before Christmas)
“We have countrymen who were killed even before they had a chance to start anew. Amidst the celebrations and shiny decorations, we have countrymen who are mourning and grieving as they remember their parents, children, sibling, spouse, or friend who were killed. How does one celebrate when the killings and loss of justice continue?” she said.
But the lady senator is hopeful there will be “light” after the “darkness” of 2016.
“However heavy the challenges in life, however dark the chapter our country is in, I have faith that light will come,” she said.
“With God’s guidance, let us unite for a truly peaceful and just county,” she added.
Senator Francis Pangilinan too had regrets about 2016, but remains hopeful about the New Year.
“Many unexpected events have happened, especially in global politics. What I did not expect to happen after we ousted a dictator during EDSA People Power happened,” said Pangilinan in Filipino.
In 2016, the remains of strongman Ferdinand Marcos were buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in fulfillment of Duterte’s campaign promise.
Duterte himself has stoked fears that he will become a dictator after saying he has been “tempted” to declare martial law.
Pangilinan called on Filipinos to stay strong no matter what adversity comes their way, like farmers who must adapt to harsh conditions.
“Sometimes, you will face storms, you will fall to your knees, your integrity will be tested, but you must plant and plant because that is your job,” he said.
The senator hopes that 2017 will not be a year of hate but a year of love.
“This coming 2017, let us plant not ill will, but good will borne out of hope and love,” he said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson’s New Year message focused on his wish for Duterte to change his ways and become a better leader. – Rappler.com