Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Filipinos to take inspiration from the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the world’s greatest leaders and human rights defenders, in resisting the continued abuse of power under the current regime.
In her message on the International Day of Non-Violence today (Oct. 2), De Lima said Gandhi’s legacy of non-violence calls upon the Filipino public to reflect and take action on the prevailing culture of violence and impunity in the country.
“This government has put the law in their hands, yet it has the gall to brag that they are winning the drug war, and that it has achieved peace and order. Through massive propaganda, they are deceiving our people that the only way to move forward is through relentless killings and violence,” she said.
“Guided by Gandhi’s teachings, let us prove to the oppressors and human rights violators that truth and justice will always succeed, especially with our concerted efforts to demand the accountability of those who promote violence and corrupt our humanity,” she added.
Celebrated on October 2 of every year, the United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Non-Violence is a global observance that aims to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness” with the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence.”
The occasion is observed on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who has made his mark across the world for being the leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.
Contrary to the teachings and legacy of Gandhi on non-violence, the Philippines under Mr. Duterte’s leadership has been plagued with rampant extrajudicial killings committed in the guise of fighting drug-related crimes, killing more than 20,000 individuals, to date.
The government’s bogus war on drugs, however, only killed innocent children and suspected small-time drug peddlers and users who belong to the poorest of the poor, while influential and high-profile drug lords continue to evade accountability.
Amid the Duterte administration’s effort to conceal the truth about the state-led killings in the country, De Lima said she believes that the government can never suppress the truth that the war on drugs “is an utter failure and will just continue to harm our people, especially the vulnerable sectors of society.”
“As Gandhi said: ‘I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent,'” said the former justice secretary.
“Let us not be cowed and continue to resist the abuses of the powers that be, as we fight for a lasting peace and a just society for all,” she added.
The staunchest critic of the government’s bogus war on drugs, De Lima is unjustly detained for more than two and a half years now for trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the administration using convicted and perjured criminals as witnesses.(senate.gov.ph)