MANILA - Vice-President Leni Robredo has reminded the youth to defend and fight for their rights against those who want to take them away.
"Life does not happen to us; we make of it what we can. Do we want liberty and freedom and progress for ourselves and our people? The answer lies in us. Please remember this: you, young ones, can be the woman you want to be free and empowered. Let nothing and no one stop you from being who you want to be,” Robredo said in a speech at Miriam College in Quezon City.
"These are extraordinarily difficult times. There is a creeping culture of hate among us. It is easy to get lost in a world of lies, meanness, fake news, alternative facts, and feel helpless."
“Perhaps we ask ourselves, what has become of us as a people? At the Office of the Vice President, we have decided to take the high ground and focus our sights on where we can make a difference. That is why my team and I have decided to devote several days of every week visiting the farthest and most forgotten of our communities.”
In her speech, Robredo shared stories of her team's struggle to reach under-served communities in the country.
She told the crowd of her Angat Buhay program, which went to places like Agutaya, a faraway town in Palawan reachable by taking a 10-hour boat ride from Coron.
She said it is in those places that they see the gaps in nation-building that need to be filled.
"It is in places like Agutaya where we encounter women who, instead of choosing despair, choose hope. Who, instead of being angry that they were forgotten, choose gratitude that we remembered to visit them,” she said.
“It is in these communities where we see how loss and failure enrich the experience of success, with humility and with the wisdom that will help us become an even better nation. We realize, more profoundly, that people make mistakes but they deserve a second chance. We see that human life is sacred and that our rights must be protected at every chance.”
Robredo made the challenge during her speech delivered after receiving the Eminent Woman Award at a ceremony of Eminent Women in Politics and Governance held at Miriam College.
The event was organized by Miriam College's Women and Gender Institute, an advocacy center for gender equality and women's empowerment.