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Legarda: Let Us Make Our Independence More Meaningful to Every Filipino

June 11, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today said that Philippine independence should be more meaningful to every Filipino citizen through socio-economic development and cultural integrity.

Legarda made the statement as the nation celebrates the 116th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence.

“As we look back at the bravery of our leaders who have brought forth this independence, let us use their stories as inspiration to liberate our people and our country from circumstances that keep us from moving forward as a truly free and progressive nation,” she said.

“We have to address unemployment and promote equitable, sustainable and resilient development. We have to be free from the cycle of disaster vulnerability and poverty. We have to protect our environment and ecosystems. We have to put a stop to trafficking and senseless killings. We have to foster gender equality. We have to preserve and promote our cultural heritage,” she stressed.

The Senator explained that economic growth should be felt by everyone through more job opportunities, stable employment, equitable access to quality education, health services and other social services.

She also said that natural hazards turbocharged by climate change have been taking a toll on the country’s development and are detrimental to the Filipino people’s safety, thus the need to build resilience.

Further, since ecosystem decline is among the underlying drivers of disaster risks and poverty, in the context of climate change, green policies, especially the protection of the environment, should be included in the country’s development strategies.

“Every citizen must demand from their leaders a concrete set of actions to protect the environment and build disaster-resilient communities. Every citizen must be engaged in developing community-based disaster preparedness plans, rehabilitating the environment, responding to early disaster warnings and in promoting sustainable livelihood,” said Legarda.

Meanwhile, Legarda said that human trafficking and other crimes, such as media killings, should be addressed through strengthened information campaign and faithful implementation of laws.

“We must free our people from the threat of being victimized by trafficking syndicates by implementing our laws such as the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. Heightened vigilance, strict enforcement of the law and close coordination with local agencies and international organizations are needed to combat trafficking,” she said.

“We also need to protect our citizens from senseless killings and members of media who are killed due to their job because this is a deliberate attack on the freedom of the press,” Legarda added.

Legarda also said that the country should continue to build on the gains of its success in promoting gender equality, stressing that “we must let go of the stereotypical, gender-based roles and regard every citizen as capable of making valuable contribution to society, regardless of gender.”

Finally, she underscored the importance of preserving cultural heritage and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, who strive to faithfully live by the standards and traditions of our forefathers and seek to pass on our culture to more generations of Filipinos.

“We have to look back at our history and be aware of our cultural roots, which will give us better understanding of our identity as a nation and help unite Filipinos. If Filipinos of the past were able to unite to achieve Philippine independence, we too can work together to give greater meaning to the freedom we achieved 116 years ago,” Legarda concluded.