Pangilinan to young Filipinos: Keep fighting for what we value, believe, and love

YOUNG people must continue exercising their freedoms and speak out for truth, human rights, and justice despite online trolling, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said over the weekend.

“Why do I stay consistent with my championing in what some would say ‘lost causes’? Why do we do what we do? It may sound cheesy but it’s really because of what you love,” Pangilinan told an online forum when asked how he has never forgotten his principles when many law students turned lawyers seem to have forgotten theirs.

“You love your country, you love your family. And because you love your country, you want what’s best for your people even if it’s not easy,” he told students of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila-College of Law during its celebration of Law Day Saturday.

Pangilinan then recalled how he was being trolled and bashed every day for being critical of the Administration’s wrong-headed policies and their implementation.

“Every time I raise something that’s critical of the government, sunod-sunod na ang pang-iinsulto, pambabastos, pambababoy, hindi lang ng aking pagkatao pati ‘yung anak ko, pati si Sharon. Hindi madali, pero bakit ako susuko? Bakit ako magpapatinag? Eh ‘di sila ang mangingibabaw? Hindi ako papayag,” the senator said.

Pangilinan, who became the first Student Regent of the University of the Philippines System, recounted his student activist days during the Marcos regime billions of pesos were stolen, rampant abuses in government, and the assassination of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., which he said “opened my eyes to what was wrong in the country then”.

That time, Pangilinan said, he already thought about how his would-be-children would ask him about his role during those dark days of martial law. “When they read about the history of martial law, the many abuses and corruption, and ask me, ‘Daddy, noong panahong matindi ang krisis sa bansa, ano’ng ginagawa mo?’

“Kung hindi ko maipapaliwanag ‘yung mga naging pasya ko sa aking mga anak, ano’ng klaseng magulang ako? If right and wrong for me is unclear, how can I explain that to my children?” he said.

The senator then posed the question to the 300 students who attended the Zoom forum: “Amidst all these that’s happening, where do you stand? Each of you as law students, where does your generation stand?”

“Sa gitna ng pandemya, habang ninanakaw ang bilyun-bilyong halaga ng pondo para sa kalusugan, habang kinukulong ang libu-libo nating mga kababayan sa halip na bigyan ng maskara, habang ipinasara ang ABS-CBN, ipinasa ang terror law, tatanungin din kayo ng mga mas bata ninyong kapatid: “Ate, kuya, ano’ng ginagawa ninyo noong panahon ng krisis?” he said.

Pangilinan advised them to “take on the challenge” to be the catalysts for change, to act, take a stand, and work together toward real change.

“Lalaban tayo. Hindi tayo susuko. We will keep fighting for what we believe, what we love, and what we value,” he said.

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