[OPINION] Hope for the Filipinos amidst election blues
The apprehensive results of the national elections is a temporary setback.
To those who voted as one way to show our opposition to the administration's policies – current, proposed, and the lack of much-needed policies – it was a good fight. But just like tripping on the floor, we need to stand up, dust ourselves, and start all over again as our continued vigilance is called upon by the times.
Our votes stood as testament against extrajudicial killings, against infringement of press freedom; and as a demonstration of our outcry that much of the campaign promises will remain as mere promises.
What's at stake
The TRAIN law has hurt us with the rising prices of basic commodities. The proposed TRAIN law will impose corporate tax exemptions benefitting only a few.
Federalism, at this point in our history and patronage politics, is bound to firm up existing political dynasties aligned with the administration. (READ: Will federalism address PH Woes? Pros and cons of making the shift)
The lack of political will to address the Chinese invasion of Philippine territory and the sudden influx of Chinese businesses and workers are all cause for serious concern. (READ: Prepare for possible China invasion, ex-defense chief tells PH)
We need a Senate that will adhere to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to prosecute crimes against humanity committed by state actors. (READ: Ano ang Rome Statute ng International Criminal Court?)
We need a Senate free from plunderers, liars, and kiss-ass people, an independent Senate with senators who will fight for people's rights. Failure to address the needs of the people has pushed fellow Filipinos to extreme poverty and low level of educational attainment. (READ: [ANAYLYSIS} On poverty lines and counting the poor)
The majority of the Filipino people are still well below the poverty line and our fellow Filipinos have reached the dire situation where receiving free rubber shoes already means a lot to them.
Adolescent pregnancies have never been addressed properly by the present and previous national and local administrations. We still have one out of every 9 adolescents aged 15 to 19 who are pregnant or have already given birth. Once they become young mothers, many of these adolescent women and girls stop schooling and end up with limited financial opportunities.
This has become a cyclical problem where their daughters too eventually become young mothers themselves and lead impoverished lives. Women's rights have been trampled upon with the sexual innuendos and sexist remarks. (WATCH: #BilangBabae: Roundtable discussion on women and the elections)
Time for introspection
Rights of workers have been beleaguered by the prevalent practice of contractualization or end of contracts (endo). The basic concerns of our brethren in Bangsomoro and indigenous peoples have not been fully addressed. Right to education, work, and health are all basic rights that must be addressed.
Right to equality of women, equal rights to divorce, marriage, reproductive rights including safe abortion, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identity, are rights that must be addressed.
But we must also take a look at ourselves.
Did you vote? If not, you failed to fulfill one basic duty of a Filipino citizen. If you voted, was it a vote to uphold democracy, a vote that encourages dissent and open criticism without sanction? What kind of political parties do we have? Do the parties push for candidates who stand for good governance, human rights, and love of country?
At the end of the day, we hold on to our basic rights: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, right to a democracy, and right to equality.
In the end, I am certain that human rights, justice, democracy, and equality will prevail. – Rappler.com
Claire Padilla is a human rights lawyer helping women including women with disabilities, indigenous women, Bangsamoro women, people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identities, and workers. She is the founder and executive director of EnGendeRights.
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