MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo told members of Asian liberal and democratic parties that it is their duty to support other institutions who engage in efforts to uphold democracy.
The Vice President delivered the keynote message during the opening session of the 8th Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats-Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (CALD-ALDE) Summit on Monday, November 19.
Robredo, chairperson of the Philippines’ Liberal Party, first acknowledged that there are critics who think democracy is “too unwieldy.”
“It is true – the voices can be overwhelming, but isn’t that the beauty of democracy, of our freedom to express our thoughts? Shouldn’t we all have a say in how we ought to be governed? Hence, we must stand alongside freedom fighters, instead of shutting them down or silencing them,” said the Vice President.
“We have to help other democracies thrive by supporting institutions in our midst: those campaigning for civil rights, crowds rallying for fair and free elections, groups fighting for freedom of the press and free speech in an age of disinformation and fake news,” she said.
According to Robredo, it is “critical” for CALD-ALDE members to restore people’s waning trust in democracy. (READ: Robredo: ‘It’s time to take a stand because democracy is at risk again’)
“To do that, we must accept its shortcomings: how it has led to a world that has forgotten the sufferings of those who have been left behind by progress. And by accepting these shortfalls, we can finally shift our focus towards the last, the least, and the lost – and make sure that democracy and freedom work for them in equal measure,” said the Vice President.
The Philippines slid 6 spots in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s continuous attacks against the media.
From 127th place in 2017, the Philippines was ranked 133rd out of 180 countries this year, in the index released by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. The country scored 42.53 points.
A Social Weather Stations survey released in October, however, showed 84% of Filipinos are satisfied with how democracy works in the country. – Rappler.com