The Philippines takes pride in its history of struggle for rights and freedoms – a struggle that makes democracy a reality. However, constant vigilance is necessary to honor this history and to keep our democracy alive.

Every year, together with other member states of the United Nations, we commemorate the International Day of Democracy as we recognize the inherent power of the people and how it makes the existence of every state possible. To affirm the state is to affirm the rights and freedoms of the people in which the power of the state resides. It is to affrim the people’s right to peaceably assemble, to exercise one’s religion, to speak in service of the truth, and to struggle for life and liberty in every opportunity possible.

Democracy and human rights will always be tightly interwoven in a tapestry that finds depth and color in the people’s struggle for the fulfillment of their rights and freedoms. In a world where spaces for social and political participation are constantly closed off by discrimination, and the promise of growth and development is only realized by a few, we must constantly work in solidarity with the marginalized and vulnerable. Only then can we truly claim the fruits of our hard-won democracy, and only then can we truly work towards dignity and equality for all.