MANILA, Philippines — Kapamilya actress Liza Soberano lent her platform to raising awareness on issues faced by women and children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The celebrity influencer was featured as the special guest for the Tuesday evening webinar “Mga Tinig ni Nene: Reclaiming Our Voice on the International Day of the Girl Child.”
The 22-year-old discussed “the young woman's contribution on raising awareness and creating a safe environment for young women amid the pandemic.”
“The norm of society has conditioned women and children to stay quiet when dealing with hardships and struggles because nobody is going to do anything anyway. Yet why do they also expect us women, women alike and children, to remain resilient through these struggles?” she said.
“Because change cannot be just the responsibility of the people who need it most. They need the support of everyone, especially those of the highest power, if we are to see true change.”
Liza said that she has personally overcome her previous contradiction of staying silent out of fear.
“I know I haven’t always been the most vocal about my opinions and about the advocacies that I feel very strong for, because I was always afraid that I would be dividing my supporters. I was afraid of creating conflict. Ang paniniwala ko po dati na 'pag artista ka, dapat umiiwas ka sa lahat ng issues. Dapat we just keep talking about our craft and the next movie we’re making and everything. Kasi, I was afraid that people would judge me. They would say na, 'What do I know, I’m just a girl, I’m just an actress',” she confessed.
“But then I realized, especially, most recently when there was someone who made a sexual abuse comment towards me… I realized the impact of me standing up for myself, especially after I filed a criminal case against somebody who made a rape joke against me.”
Liza concluded her speech by highlighting the importance of using one's influence to create a safer environment for women and youth.
“As a woman, as a Filipino artist, I think that women and influencers alike should start speaking up. They can contribute not only awareness about these issues, but also encouragement and confidence to our fellow women and children — that they need to learn to stand up for themselves.”
The webinar has since attracted thousands of viewers and engagements, even reshared by LizQuen and Liza fan pages.
Liza joined a lineup of women activists, including Gabriela Youth national secretary-general Clarice Palce, Andria Vera of Alyansa ng mga Residente sa Katuparan Youth, lawyer Minnie Lopez of Gabriela Services and Children’s Rehabilitation Center Deputy Director Nikki Aserios.
Topics discussed include women’s and children’s rights, young women’s psychosocial needs amid the pandemic and a community situationer in Tondo, Manila.
“The goal of this webinar is to instill awareness among the youth about women and children's rights, especially in the time of the pandemic,” host Kat Estrella of Gabriela Youth said.
“Now more than ever is it timely since there are different forms of harassment, misogyny and violence against women around us. We must amplify the voice of women and children to fight for their rights under a system that brazenly disregards and disrespects women and children.”