Have you ever wondered what the Philippines would look like if ordinary Filipinos are represented in decision-making, if every individual’s right is championed, and if every citizen is heard?
This is the courageous aspiration Samira Gutoc envisions for the county; and this, in essence, is the dream that Marawi civic leader and peace-builder Gutoc wants to share in her newly-launched video.
At the launch of her two-minute video at Romulo Cafe, in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, Gutoc underscored the need for every Filipino to be included in the country’s narrative and nation-building.
“Working many years in the community and in peace-building, I understand the real needs of ordinary Filipinos and that everyone of us should be given a chance to speak out and be heard regardless of our faith, gender or social status,” said Gutoc, a long-time community organizer from Mindanao, who aspires to represent the marginalized and ordinary Filipinos in the halls of the Senate in 2019.
“We cannot stay in the sidelines and fringes anymore, watching helplessly as we continue to be excluded by a political system that does not represent our dreams and aspirations,” Gutoc said.
“Desmond Tutu, a South African human rights activist, once said ‘exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.’”
“And in our shared struggle for social justice, equality, and representation, I can be your voice. Let me fight this battle with you, without fear or favor,” Gutoc added.
Samira Gutoc, one of the senatorial candidates supported by the opposition for the 2019 elections, is a peace advocate who believes in grassroots approach towards peace.
She is a mother, a long-time community organizer, and a Filipino Muslim woman working with the poorest of the poor in one of the most impoverished regions in the country.
Gutoc recently won the N-Peace Award for the Philippines under the Untold Stories category for her efforts toward peace-building in the country and her role in the advancement of the rights of women and the marginalized sector in Marawi.
N-Peace is a flagship initiative by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Asia-Pacific founded in 2010 to commemorate the 10-year implementation of the UNSCR 1325 implementation via the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda.