Liza Soberano: 'Change cannot just be the responsibility of the people who need it most'

The actress is determined to use her voice to spread awareness.
PHOTO: (LEFT TORIGHT) INSTAGRAM/LIZASOBERANO, FACEBOOK/GABRIELA YOUTH

On October 13, 22-year-old actress Liza Soberano was one of the speakers for a Facebook Live webinar organized by Gabriela Youth, which was entitled Tinig Ni Nene: Reclaiming Our Voice On The International Day Of The Girl Child. Liza talked about why it's important to speak up about societal issues, especially when it comes to violence against women and children. 

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In September, Liza filed a civil complaint against a netizen who made a rape comment about her on Facebook, saying that rape jokes "should not be taken lightly." During her speech for Gabriela Youth, Liza said that the incident is one of the reasons why she thinks it's important for celebrities like herself to speak up. She also mentioned seeing reports about the increase of online sexual exploitation in the Philippines during the pandemic. Liza added that before, she was afraid of creating conflict and "being judged." 

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While talking about her supporters who thanked her for taking a stand, Liza got emotional and took a few seconds to compose herself before continuing: "I know a lot of women in my life who have struggled with this. And I find it so unfair that we women have to go out every day with [the] fear of being catcalled, of dressing a certain way and getting called out for the way we're dressed. I fear that my nieces and future children won't be able to go out into a safe environment. That's why I find it so important to start spreading awareness to the future generations, as early as now, so that we can create a better future for everyone."

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Liza added: "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 and children to remain resilient through these struggles? Because change cannot just be 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."

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"And 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." At the end of her speech, Liza acknowledged that not everyone is privileged enough to be vocal about social issues, but that in her case, she saw the power of speaking up after seeing her friends and idols doing the same thing. 

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After her moving speech, the Twitter hashtag #BoycottLizaSoberano became a trending topic, which fans quickly filled with memes and messages of support. At present, Liza is in the United States, where she is taking care of her grandmother. You can watch the full video from Gabriela Youth below (Liza's speech starts at the 57:00 mark):

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