While the Duterte administration continues to terrorize the public into fear and submission, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged political and civic leaders to step up their efforts in listening to the stories of ordinary Filipino families.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development Committee, said the best way to identify ways on how to help improve the plight of ordinary people is by spending time listening to their needs, fears and aspirations.
“Sa isang panahon at lugar na pilit tayong nilulunod ng ingay ng propaganda, dagundong ng takot at daing ng pangamba, ang katiwasayan at kapalagayang-loob na dala-dala ng pakikinig ay akmang-akma at naaangkop.
“Hindi nagtataboy kundi nag-iimbita. Hindi nag-uudyok ng pagkakahati-hati kundi nag-aanyaya sa pagsasama-sama,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 441.
From October to December 2018, the Liberal Party ran “Project Makinig,” which allowed party members and some 2,000 volunteers to visit far-flung areas in the country to engage in face-to-face conversations with Filipinos from different walks of life.
The lady Senator from Bicol commended the noble aim of the listening movement, that is, to understand the fears and dreams, among others, of the Filipinos from different parts of the world regardless of their age, sex, educational background and social status.
“Isa sa pinakabatayang pangangailangan ng tao ay ang umunawa at ang maunawaan. At ang pinakamabisang paraan para makaunawa ay ang makinig,” she said.
“Meron lamang silang ilang volunteer nang magsimula na umabot sa mahigit 6,000. Mula sa ilang daang usapan lamang noong una, nakaipon ang Project Makinig ng 150,000 conversations mula sa mahigit sa 100 lugar sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa. Tunay na kahanga-hanga!” she added.
De Lima shared that “Project Makinig” proved “listening as a bridge that can link all of us as a people” because it allows different individuals to learn together and teach one another with the respective stories that they share.
“There is a common yarn that runs through our tales, a hope that binds, a yearning that unites us: Tungo sa isang bayang tunay na malaya, at isang lipunang para sa lahat,” she said.
“Sa gitna ng marahas na kilos at pananalita ng nasa kapangyarihan, at sa harap ng nakabibinging kabastusan at kapusukan ng mismong nasa pamahalaan: kapanatagan at pag-asa ang dala-dala ng mahinanon at taimtim na pakikinig sa isa’t isa,” she added.
De Lima remains unjustly detained on trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the government that refuses to listen to persistent calls of local and international groups and individuals calling for respect to human rights and dignity of human lives.
Despite the continued injustices she is subjected to, De Lima said the people behind “Project Makinig” remain proof that citizens can be relied upon to rise to the challenges of democracy amid this dark period of political history.
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