Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has thanked leading business newspaper Financial Times for recognizing her fight for human rights by naming her as one of the Most Influential Women of the Year 2019 from across the globe.
De Lima, a known human rights defender here and abroad, said she is humbled for the recognition which reminds her not to waver in her fight for what is right and just amid her continued unjust detention by the vengeful government.
“Thank you, Financial Times, for the honor! Truly humbling to be tacked with extraordinary women of our times,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 664.
“It’s really just about fighting for what is right…” added De Lima, who continues to receive awards and citations here and abroad.
In the London-based business newspaper’s Readers’ Women of 2019, 16 women were cited as the Most Influential Women of the Year 2019 for breaking “new ground in 2019 or brought attention to some of the most important issues of our time, whether in their own community or at a national or international level.”
De Lima, however, is the only Filipino who made it to this year’s Financial Times’ roster of different women from different countries who were noted to have also “stood out” for their bold stance on current issues and inspiring advocacies.
“De Lima had led a human rights investigation against Rodrigo Duterte into alleged extrajudicial killings that took place while he was mayor of Davao City. Her handwritten dispatches from her cell are incisive missives and commentary on the issues the Philippines faces,” part of De Lima’s description by a Financial Times reader.
Aside from De Lima, Financial Times also named climate activist Greta Thunberg, businesswoman and campaigner Gina Miller, former governor of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeria Gontareva, and journalist Carrie Gracie.
It also cited New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, US presidential aspirant Sen. Elizabeth Warren, European Union Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, among others.
An outspoken critic of Duterte, De Lima has been detained for obviously trumped-up drug charges based mostly on false testimonies of convicted criminals as a result of her courage in speaking out against the excesses of the government.
In 2018, De Lima has also been named among Southeast Asian’s women to watch by Tokyo-based The Diplomat, along with democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, ousted former Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra, Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fishers Susi Pudjiastuti and Malaysian longtime activist Maria Chin Abdullah.
She was also named as one of the leading Global Thinkers for 2016 and 2017 by Foreign Policy magazine and one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, among others.