Press Release
June 12, 2020

Statement of Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on 122nd Philippine Independence Day
Life, livelihood, rights essential in Filipinos' fight to preserve freedom, independence: Pangilinan

"From our homes, our workplaces, the streets, the hospitals and quarantine centers, and via online, we celebrate our 122nd year of Independence inspired by the heroism of our ancestors and the greatness of every Filipino pivotal to nation-building.

With the COVID-19 pandemic hovering over us and the rest of the world, the kind of freedom we desperately need could come from the vaccine that will shield us all from infection and secure people's health.

But as we hope for the cure, we must not let our guard down in discerning the signs and symptoms threatening our civil liberties and fundamental rights.

We must continue to resist the looming enactment into law of the anti-terrorism bill, which portends iron-hand suppression of freedom of expression and assembly, infringes on privacy, and justifies arrests and surveillance of critics.

As we have witnessed prior to the bill's passage, slight infractions of quarantine protocols can be met with the most brutal force by police and military. Our democratic right to question and dissent are faced with harassment of paid trolls and threats of martial rule.

We must be unflinching in raising our voice against attempts to curtail our right to information and expression, as can be gleaned from the shutdown of ABS-CBN network.

We must persist in demanding for our right to live decently and to avail of government succor, especially as we grapple with this pandemic.

There should be no let-up in providing cash assistance to all needy families, who are right now hard-pressed to feed their children and give them education amid joblessness and restrictions to mobility.

Workers braving everyday commute to eke out a living should not be left to fend for their own without means of transportation, exposing them to risk of contagion and dangers on the streets.

Efficient transportation is also called for that would ferry OFWs and locally stranded individuals to their homes and spare them from the inhumane conditions of waiting on the streets to catch a ride or flight to their destinations.

Repatriated overseas Filipino workers and thousand others who have lost their source of income, and micro and small enterprises should be high on government's focus for assistance to help them become productive anew and find means of survival for their families.

We must urge government to ramp up mass testing to ensure quick identification of cases, treatment and control of the spread of infection. This should be complemented by the speedy processing of the test and release of results to decongest quarantine centers and allow people to return home.

Life. Livelihood. Rights. These are the most essential elements that every Filipino should fight for to preserve our freedom and independence.

Guided by the past struggles and triumphs of our forefathers and foremothers, we move forward with a strong sense of solidarity and human compassion to face these trying times."

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