Press Release
October 10, 2019


In an increasingly stressful environment of spending long hours in traffic, dealing with constant workload in the office or in school, feeling isolated and agitated because of social media, worrying about payment deadlines and living expenses, and many other daily struggles, it is crucial for us to approach this year's World Mental Health Day with full resolve to make mental wellness a public health issue in the Philippines.

For more than three years now, we are dealing not only with anxieties, but also with the grief, anger, and sorrow of millions of Filipinos whose loved ones were brutally killed in the administration's murderous war on drugs. It is a moral travesty that such trauma and emotional burden have been inflicted on so many of our countrymen who have been rendered orphans, widows, or childless. The killings, as well as the dejected thinking that the victims' families being mostly poor and marginalized cannot seek out justice, let alone for mental professional help, should end now.

As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare, and Rural Development, I reiterate my call for our government, specifically the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), to provide counselling and psychosocial services to our citizens in helping them overcome extreme life events such as the rampant extrajudicial killings, the continued sufferings in conflict-ridden areas such as Marawi, deaths due to calamities, and the hounding fear of barely surviving amid wretched poverty.

It is in this serious recognition of mental health critically affecting individuals that I authored the Magna Carta of the Poor Act to guarantee the underprivileged their basic needs, including the highest attainable standard of both physical and mental health. With this law, the government should hire more mental health professionals, while raising awareness and removing the stigma of seeking help for psychological and emotional problems.

Let us always strive to understand and be compassionate to one another. I am confident that together, despite different challenges, Filipinos will never yield, and will keep on fighting for a better life and a better future of our nation.


PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame

10 October 2019

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