Press Release
November 4, 2017

Dispatch from Crame No. 193
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's statement on Shibby De Guzman's inclusion in Time's 30 most influential teens


Congratulations to Shibby De Guzman, the 14-year-old student who has been recognized by Time Magazine as one of the "30 Most Influential Teens of 2017"!

To say that we, as Filipinos, ought to be proud of her accomplishment is an understatement. Better yet, we should be inspired by this extraordinary achievement because she is, first and foremost, an ordinary school girl who became "influential", not just because of her awareness of social issues, but, most of all, because of her desire to be an instrument of change - not just for herself, but for others.

She isn't just well-informed - which is a commendable achievement in itself in this age of fake news and click bait mentality geared at garnering fame, power and influence through imaginary internet points - she also chooses to do something to change the unfortunate status quo for the better.

She chooses to distinguish herself for a good and unselfish cause, despite the peril that becoming a "dissenter" presented.

That is a level of maturity, patriotism and humanity that not even some geriatric members of the Philippine government have been able to demonstrate.

Shibby's achievements belong to her, her parents and grandparents, her school and everyone who has helped shaped her become the way she is in just 14 years. But it is also our own because this single girl, with just a pen, paper and her courage as her tools, managed to show the world that we are not defined by the bad things that some of our officials do, but, most tellingly, by the brave choices that seemingly ordinary and powerless people make on a daily basis.

Shibby has shown us that we don't have to have hundreds of thousands of followers, or the most expensive and high tech gadgets and worldly possessions to be recognized in the world - distinction follows where we choose to be decent and conscientious human beings.

You can simultaneously be both a famous and influential person on one hand, and a decent human being on the other. It's not binary.

Let that be the lesson that we learn from this 14-year-old.

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