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    Q&A with students at the JPMAPTalks

    26 January 2017

    JPMAPTalks: I Am Possible 2.0, FEU Mini Auditorium

    Q: What is your stand regarding the progressive policies such as discrimination in LGBT rights?

    VP Leni: Iyong discrimination I think it is interconnected with LGBT rights. In fact, during the 16th Congress where I was a member of the House of Representatives, I was one of the authors of the anti-discrimination bill.

    Ang LGBT discrimination, when I say they’re very much interconnected. Because that’s the very purpose of us promoting for better protection of LGBT.

    Much of the discrimination comes from misinformation and non-appreciation of the fact that everyone of us, kahit ano ka man, kahit ano ang ating race, kahit ano ang pinanggalingan, kahit anong edad, wherever come from—are deserving to be treated in the same manner as everyone else.

    So that is actually the very essence of the anti-discrimination bill and you know during the 16th congress, hindi nga siya nakalabas sa Committee because there are many extreme and divergent views, which really cloud the very idea of why do we want anti-discrimination bill. Ang anti-discrimination is merely pushing for human rights of everyone.

    Kasi di ba to be treated equally is a basic human right. But the good news is that now in the 17th congress, though I’m no longer there, it has been approved in the committee level already and that’s a huge step.

    We’re expecting that it will be calendared for discussion in the plenary. And if anyone of you is really interested in participating in the discussions, although you cannot directly participate in the debates on the floor, I think it will be very beneficial to the passage of the bill if you engage with your own congressmen and senators.

    Noong bahagi ako ng Kongreso, napakahalaga sa akin noong pinupuntahan ako ng mga estudyante at sinasabi sa akin, ganito ang aming mga paniniwala, sana ipaglaban ninyo ang aming mga karapatan.

    So I think the academic members who are here, the students will really benefit if they are exposed to discussions such as this.

    Q: What do you think is that most pressing problem that the millennial is facing right now and what are your plans to solve it?

    VP Leni: Mas mahirap ata iyong plans kasi dapat hindi lang ako, hindi ganito. Tingin ko, misinformation. Because now that information is so readily available, it is both a good and a bad thing. Dahil you can get information at the tip of your finger.

    We are also fed with so much misinformation and sometimes all our judgments, all our prejudices come from misinformation. So sa akin, on the side of the students.

    Kami naman on the side government, we should be instituting policies that will make sure that the information that is available iyon ang genuine na information. But on the side of the millennials, kailangan very vigilant tayo. Huwag magpapaniwala ng basta-basta.

    I think that is the challenge now. Kasi we can never base our judgements and our prejudices on information that are not true. Ako mismo, number one na biktima ng misinformation. Lahat na yata.

    Noong una mayroon na akong boyfriend, sunod kinasal na daw ako bago ko napang-asawa ang asawa ko. Mayroon pang wedding picture ng supposed na husband ko. Sunod nabuntis ako, sunod nagpa-abort.

    Ang gusto kong sabihin, if young people, hindi lang young people pati kami mga adults. Nagpapapaniwala lang sa nababasa, grabe na, grabe na ang nangyari.

    Iyong staff ko natatawa kasi during the post-typhoon operations, one of my pictures in one of the typhoon-devastated areas pinick-up ng isang site, naka-blow-up ang aking sapatos. I was using a cheap pair of shoes, at pinalaki iyon sinabing I was using Ferragamo which costs $700. Ang mahal na kaya noon for a shoes.

    Tawang-tawa iyong mga staff ko kaya every time na nagsusuot kami ng sapatos nagkakantiyawan na kami. Pero you know, ridiculous things.

    Pag naniwala ang nagbabasa, it could create a very bad image of a particular person. Hindi lang tungkol sa tao pero pati polisiya ng gobyerno. You know pag mga bata, parang blank page iyan. Parang blank page, lalo na kapag mga babies na finifeed ka with information. So sa akin dahil hindi naman kayo masyadong bata, you are already in a position to be vigilant.

    You are already in a position to make sure that what you believe in is correct. Kasi ano naman iyan, you are not being forced to believe in a particular school of thought. Pero sana lang, ang basis ng belief is correct. So tingin ko at this point, it is really misinformation.

    Q: How will you ensure peace in Mindanao?

    VP Leni: I think the administration is doing the right thing now. The administration is doing the right thing now in pursuing the peace process. Ang peace kasi it is not something to give up on.

    It was something that was pursued by the previous administrations pero hindi siya naisakatuparan. I think the passage of the Bangsamoro bill will really pave the way for more trust between hindi lang ng mga Moros, but more trust between the government and marginalized tribes in Mindanao.

    Ang mahalaga lang pinapakinggan ang boses ng lahat. Because mistrust always comes from not giving everyone a seat at the table. And I think that the fact that the administration now is pursuing the peace talks, is trying to invite more groups to participate in the peace process is a good thing.

    It’s a difficult task na you don’t get the exact results pero sana you don’t give up. Parang relationships din ng mga kabataan, di ba?

    Ang relationships ng mga kabataan, nagmamahalan na nga kayo hindi pa kayo nagkakaintindihan?

    Lalo na iyong konting punto ang pinag-aagreehan. But you know, kahit maraming puntos na you don’t see eye to eye, iyong peace is something you don’t give up on.

    We expect more conflicts, we expect in the entire peace process, in the entire process of finding peace, right now nasa Rome ang ating mga representatives, trying to find more ways in which they can agree on, pero it’s something that is worth pursuing.

    Q: Thank you VP.

    Posted in Transcripts on Jan 26, 2017