Senators stress protection of PH sovereignty on Independence Day

(GMA NEWS) On the celebration of the 126th anniversary of Philippine independence Wednesday, senators called for protection of the country’s sovereignty and national interest.

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, who chairs the Senate national defense committee, called on the Filipinos to show the international community its “unity and determination in defending our rights, natural resources, and territory.”

“Ang pagmamalasakit sa isa’t isa ay ang pinakamalakas nating sandata laban sa mga dayuhang pwersa na nagnanais baguhin ang ating teritoryo at pahinain ang ating soberanya,” Estrada said in a statement.

“Ang tunay na diwa ng kalayaan ay ang pagiging handa na ipaglaban ito sa tuwing hinahamon tayo,” he added.

(Our concern for each other is the strongest weapon against foreign forces who wants to take our territory and weaken our sovereignty. The true spirit of freedom is the readiness to fight whenever we are being challenged.)

Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros and Senator Joel Villanueva made the same call amid China’s bullying in the West Philippine Sea.

“Sa gitna po ng pambu-bully at sapilitang pagkamkam ng China sa ating mga teritoryo sa West Philippine Sea, inaasahan po natin na katulad ng ipinamalas noon ng ating mga ninuno, tayo rin po ay maninindigan ngayon para sa ating kasarinlan,” Villanueva said.

(Amid China’s bullying and claims on the country’s territory in the West Philippine Sea, we hope that just like our ancestors, we will stand up for our independence.)

Villanueva also called for freedom from unemployment, hunger, poverty, and hopelessness.

For her part, Hontiveros urged the public to band together and have the courage to protect our national interest.

“Patuloy ang panghihimasok ng China sa West Philippine Sea. Walang patid ang pangha-harrass laban sa ating mga mangingisda, Coast Guard at Navy,” she said.

(China’s interference in the West Philippine Sea continues. It hasn’t stopped harassing our fishermen, Coast Guard, and Navy.)

“Patuloy nating ipaglaban ang ating karapatan sa ating teritoryo at labanan ang lahat ng pagtatangkang agawin ito mula sa atin at lahat ng likas yaman na nandito,” she stressed.

(Let us continue fighting for our territory and oppose attempts to take it and the natural resources that comes with it away from us.)

Further, Hontiveros reiterated her call to ban Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) in the country, noting that it is a “big threat to our national security.”

Like Villanueva, Hontiveros also emphasized the need to free Filipinos from poverty.

“Kailangan natin ng pantay na pagkakataon para sa lahat, proteksyon para sa mga kababaihan at bata, pangmatagalang hanapbuhay para sa mga tumataguyod sa pamilya, at mas mababang presyo ng pangunahing pangangailangan,” she said.

(We need equal opportunities for all, protection for women and children, long-term livelihood for the breadwinners, and low prices of basic needs.)

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel said the celebration of Independence Day should remind Filipinos of the current challenges that the country faces, particularly  inflation, joblessness, poverty, corruption, and crime.

“These are the modern-day enemies we must strive to overcome. Let us fight inflation and work towards economic stability for all. Let us fight for salary hikes that reflect the true cost of living and give dignity to each hardworking Filipino. Let us put an end to corruption. Let us address joblessness and poverty as a nation. Let us work together to make our country safer for its people,” Pimentel said.

“May the nation and its people be freed from these burdens. Together, let us build a nation that embodies the true essence of freedom—one that is prosperous, just, and inclusive for all,” he added.—AOL, GMA Integrated News