Press Release
August 23, 2019

Filipinos can learn from pro-democracy protests in HK - De Lima

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called on Filipinos to follow Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters' lead and take a strong united stand against the excesses of the Duterte administration.

In her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 576, De Lima said she is awed by the courage of pro-democracy rallyists in Hong Kong to fight for their rights and freedom in spite of the daunting challenges of facing a Goliath like in China.

"We are witnessing history unfold for the people of Hong Kong as they fight against threats to their civil liberties and political autonomy. What is even more astonishing is the persistent and militant manner by which these protests are staged," she said.

"Perhaps we need to ponder and learn from our tiny neighbor currently battling the same Goliath that enabled Duterte in exchange for our sovereignty and resources," she added.

Since June 2019, protesters trooped to the streets to oppose the now-suspended bill that would allow people suspected of a crime to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

The continuous protests have now shifted to widespread calls for democracy in Hong Kong and for the resignation of Carrie Lam as chief executive. Last Sunday, an estimated 1.7 million protesters brave the rains to press on their demands.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, pointed out that she was also impressed how Hong Kong protesters marched for the 11th week in a row in the streets under heavy threats from local police authorities.

"The number of protesters is impressive, in the hundreds of thousands, numbers rarely seen anywhere in the world since the Arab Spring," she said.

"It has set me thinking about our own struggle and our fledgling efforts to stand united against the aspiring tyrant currently occupying Malacañang," she added.

The lady Senator from Bicol however sadly noted the same audacity cannot be said for the Filipino people, who have remained silent about the human rights abuses, corruption and rampant extrajudicial killings under the current regime.

"Pilipinas, kailan lang ay ipinakita natin sa buong mundo na kaya nating magkaisa at mapayapang magpatalsik ng diktador. Patong patong na ang mga kabalbalan ng rehimeng ito. At may mga plano pa ngang mga hakbang para lalong supilin ang mga tumututol sa kanila. Papayag ba tayo? Kaya pa ba?," she said, referring to the peaceful 1986 EDSA People Power that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

The former justice secretary challenged pro-democracy protesters in the country to learn and reflect from the courage and passion being displayed by the people of Hong Kong in fighting for their rights amid the overwhelming odds.

Despite being in detention for trumped-up drug charges filed by the administration, De Lima has initiated moves to investigate Mr. Duterte's numerous excesses, including possible excesses or violations in dealing with China.

Recently, she filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 64 to determine the exact nature, terms and parameters of the "verbal fishing agreement" with China. The probe seeks to clarify whether it is an executive agreement or international treaty requiring the Senate concurrence.

She also filed SR No. 93 to seek cancellation of the development agreements involving Fuga, Grande and Chiquita islands to protect our country from risks posed by China's aggressive military activities in the Asia Pacific region.

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