In a youth and student forum held at the St. Scholastica's College- Manila on Tuesday, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the Filipino millennials to lead the way against, what she termed, the government's "growing authoritarianism."
Dubbed as the "#YouthResist Alt-SONA," student leaders from different universities protested what they called President Rodrigo Duterte's "killing spree" that resulted to 12,000 homicide cases, including at least 8,000 deaths due to the abusive war-on-drugs.
"We stand here because we want to send a clear and strong message to this government. We stand here today to tell this government that the millennials are watching. That you are not blind," Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros pointed to the government's war on drugs, plans for "unli-Martial Law," the culture of sexism and impunity, and the reinstatement of dirty cops, particularly those accused of killing Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, as glaring examples of Duterte's growing undemocratic rule. She called on the millennials to lead the way in opposing 'rising authoritarianism', and praised their social awareness and involvement.
"I have seen firsthand your courage and patriotism. We will take back the democracy they are stealing from us. We know this darkness will pass because you, the young have the light," Hontiveros said.
"Winter is here," resistance is also here
Borrowing a phrase from the popular television series Game of Thrones, Hontiveros said that the youth should lead the resistance against Duterte's rising authoritarianism.
"Yes, winter is here. The night gathers. But so is our resistance. The resistance is here. You are the resistance. We are the resistance," Hontiveros said.
The Youth SONA was organized by#YouthResist, a broad coalition of different youth and student groups such as the Millenials Against DICTATORS (MAD), the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), and Akbayan Youth.
Source: Senate of the Philippines