Filipinos must defend democracy and stay united » Manila Bulletin News



by Raymund Antonio

For Vice President Leni Robredo, defending democracy is the biggest challenge for Filipinos amid these extraordinary times.

“The hard work of protecting democracy will require all of us to be strongly united. We may have disagreements on how to do things, but we should never allow these disagreements to divide us,” she said during the Defend Democracy Summit yesterday at U.P Diliman, Quezon City.

DEFENDING DEMOCRACY – Defend Democracy Summit participants gather for a photo opportunity with keynote speaker Vice President Leni Robredo who underscored the need for Filipinos to defend democracy and stay united amid trying times. (Alvin Kasiban | Manila Bulletin)

“If we are not able to lay aside our differences and talk to one another, we will be fighting enemies within as well as without. We will not stand a chance,” she added.

Robredo, in her keynote speech, noted the weakening of institutions, a reason for Filipinos to stand united and act on the matter.

“We must move swiftly and effectively, if we are to ensure that they are strong enough for our children’s children. And more importantly, we must point our institutions towards inclusivity,” she said.

In doing so, the Vice President emphasized how crucial it is to give a role to the marginalized sector.

“When there is inclusivity, even at the birth of all our efforts, we are more likely to succeed,” she said.

Robredo then continued that countries that have allowed democracy to thrive and built strong, inclusive institutions are countries where people thrive better.

In defending democracy, the former housing chief said that all Filipinos should  “change the narrative with hope, unity, and positive conversations.”

She called on them to not let political differences get in the way of protecting democratic institutions.

“This is the time to admit that where we are now in our journey towards democracy, may be the result, not just of other people’s mistakes, but also ours,” the Vice President said.

“Where did we go wrong? How do we now move forward? The most courageous act, perhaps, is to acknowledge our weaknesses. And that it is time to listen to others with divergent views,” she added.

Robredo batted for the concept of democracy as a means to uplift people from poverty.

“Let us not defend democracy as a concept but as a means to lessen sufferings of our people,” she said.

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