Leni Robredo: Violence not the right solution vs. poverty, inequality


Published January 14, 2017 11:22am


Violence is not the right solution in the country’s fight against poverty and inequality, Vice President Leni Robredo said as she urged young Filipinos to use technology as they act as “stewards” of the environment and human life.

Speaking before students at the 17th EDSA Ortigas Consortium of Schools (EDSOR) Peace Congress on Friday, Robredo said it is necessary to address the country’s perennial problems with peaceful approaches.

She underscored that human life is “a most valuable resource,” and noted how “we now take warfare for granted,” with people “killed in the name os seemingly noble causes.”

“Violence is the quick fix that we must prevent and condemn. Violence is a way of cutting corners, where complex problems are met with simplistic but ineffective solutions,” said Robredo, a vocal critic of the spate of killings in the recent months, as well as the revival of death penalty and lowering of age of criminal liability.

“Here in the Philippines, we are faced with issues of terrific scale and complexity. But violence is not the right response to poverty and inequality. Bloodshed will not solve crime and injustice,” she added.

“Peace may not give us quick answers, but it requires us to think carefully before we act. Peace urges us to consider the welfare of the world, to respect the fundamental rights of every human being, and to find solutions that will work in the long-term. Peace challenges us to use modern technology for the larger good,” she went on.

The Vice President also countered perceptions that this generation is apathetic to the issues of the country.

“I don’t agree. I believe that millennials like you care. I believe that modern technology puts you in the perfect position to protect the greater good. Most importantly, I believe that you are ready to fight this fight, to answer the urgent call for nation-building, no matter how young you are,” she said.

“But when I say ‘fighting the fight,’ I don’t mean that literally. In protecting the Filipino people and the interests of our nation, we must not resort to the brutality of warfare. Our democracy has no room for political intimidation or violence. Progress can always be achieved peacefully,” she added.

Conviction, integrity

This call on the youth to join nation-building is a recurring message the Vice President has delivered before young audiences.

Speaking at the Ateneo Students Leaders Assembly homecoming last week, she urged them to “figure out why you do what you do,” and focus on the said purpose amid setbacks.

“[P]arang iyong mga maraming mga kabataan ngayon na parating naghahanap ng meaning, parating naghahanap ng happiness. So parati naming mag-asawa sinasabi [sa mga anak namin] na hindi hinahanap ang meaning. Iyong meaning kayo ang nagbibigay,” she said.

“There is so much noise around us. Pero if we set our hearts and our minds on a goal, ang gusto ko maabot ko ang goal. Hindi iyong haharapin mo ang lahat ng ingay,” she added.

She also spoke of the importance of maintaining integrity while upholding conviction, because strong convictions may push a person to become “destructive.”

“Remember that some of the most brutal authoritarians in history were men of unflagging conviction. They believed that they were doing the right thing, that the grave damage they inflicted was necessary. Hitler thought this way, Pol Pot did the same. Marcos was no different,” she said.

“In authentic leadership, conviction by itself will not do. It must come arm-in-arm with integrity … the moral imperative that prevents the corruption of human thought and action. And for us in government, integrity is a non-negotiable,” she added. — VVP, GMA News