Hontiveros joins Philippine Independence Day celebration in New York
MANILA, Philippines — Sen Risa Hontiveros took to the streets of New York on Monday (Philippine time) to join the Filipino community as they got ready to mark 125 years of Philippine independence, which is actually on June 12.
The legislator walked alongside Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez during the Philippine Independence Day parade.
Beyond joining the festivities, Hontiveros brought with her a firm challenge to fight for the country’s independence by pushing back against the red-tagging and vilification of government critics and human rights advocates.
“Movements of change” ushered by people across the decades, she said, carved spaces for human rights and freedom, among others, in the Constitution and in global treaties to which the Philippines is a party.
“In that context, red-tagging and vilification and such have no place. We should not do this to our fellow Filipinos, not even through fake news and disinformation,” she told reporters.
Hontiveros further pressed for any state to “never be guilty of such crimes because the state is undoubtedly more powerful than any individual.”
“These are some of the serious problems and important challenges that we have to continue to face up to and win in these years,” she added.
PH ‘guardrails’ in the works
Hontiveros said the Philippines would still have work on its bid to institutionalize guardrails.
“It’s like we’re doing double duty: We’re trying to set up a genuine, mature political system, and at the same time, we’re fighting these pitched battles,” she said.
“We take our most important lessons from people on the ground. Those who have organized, educated, and mobilized all these decades, more than a century — 125 years ago. So we just have to keep going, learning our lessons, fighting harder, smarter, and better every time. Win more.”
Hontiveros also underscored the “very real and very powerful” value of embodying “the spirit of active citizenship or the spirit of participation in contesting democracy and building democracy.”
During the 2022 elections, Hontiveros – the lone opposition candidate to make it to the so-called “Magic 12” — topped the senatorial race in New York with 7,463 votes.