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Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

There is a story my late wife, Ma. Cielo Burce-Lagman, always told our children when they were small:

When she was a young girl growing up in Tabaco, which was then a sleepy town, there was virtually nothing to read besides the limited number of books in school. Having a real thirst for knowledge, Cielo would always be found in her aunt’s stall in the Tabaco Public Market where they had komiks and serialized novels for rent.

Keeping those in authority accountable and giving people the power to make informed decisions based on trustworthy news reports are two of the most crucial roles that journalists play.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) helps fulfill this dual role by training student journalists to be independent, ethical, and fearless even as it inculcates in them the importance of a free press in preserving genuine democracy because it guarantees that citizens are informed, government remains transparent, and a forum for the open exchange of ideas is created.

February 6, 2019, Sulo Riviera Hotel, Quezon City

 

Good morning and warm welcome to Makatao’s Kapihan on Defending Human Rights. This is the maiden Kapihan of continuing periodic relevant forums.

I am happy to see all of you this morning, but I must admit that as I stand here before you may kirot sa puso ko. Ang dahilan: sa araw na ito, labing walong taon na ang nakaraan, ang aming pamilya ay binalot ng dalamhati at poot.

I vote “No” to House Bill No. 8858, as amended. The reduction of the threshold on the minimum age of criminal responsibility from the present 15 years of age to 12 years, instead of 9 years as originally proposed, is still anti-child for the following reasons:

I vote NO for the following overriding reasons:

1. There is no constitutional and factual bases for the extension because rebellion does not persist in Mindanao and public safety is not imperiled. Sporadic incidents of lawlessness and terrorism do not make a rebellion. The justification proffered by the Executive is a rehashed pretense and a self-serving claim.