[Press Release] “Endgame”- human rights, environment groups’ final push for 2019 electoral agenda -PAHRA

Manila, Philippines—Human rights defenders, environmentalists, and grassroots communities held on Wednesday a series of activities in a final push for what they called “rights-centered” electoral agenda in the upcoming May 2019 elections.

Using hashtags #SampuSigurado, #IsyuHindiKandidato and #SagotMoBaAko, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Greenpeace SEA-Philippines, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Bantayog Initiative, In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), and Center for People’s Empowerment (CPE) in cooperation with the Most Holy Trinity Parish warned of dire consequences of electing candidates who are enablers of human rights violations, environmental destruction, misogyny, poverty and the culture of war.

“There is hardly room for any of the people’s issues in this highly polarized electoral campaign,”says Rose Trajano, Secretary General of PAHRA, “we want to remind the people that the elections is their direct act of putting their agenda into government, so it should be taken seriously”.

Media personality Jun Sabayton held a program early afternoon at the Welcome Rotunda in Quezon City which encouraged voters to elect candidates who put the people’s interest first.

Speaking on electoral agenda number 7, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines’ campaigner Ms. Virginia Benosa-Llorin stressed that “We want leaders who will prioritize supporting smallholder farmers and fisherfolk to produce food that is healthy for Filipinos and the environment. We want public servants who will commit to addressing food and nutrition security for all.”

The group marched to Blumentritt Avenue then to the Most Holy Trinity Parish in Balic-balic Sampaloc where a mass was held to pray for peaceful and orderly elections as well as to remember those who lost their lives in the violent three years of the Duterte administration.

iDEFEND spokesperson Ellecer Carlos said the race for twelve Senate seats are crucial because proposed legislation which is devastating to human rights are just waiting to be passed, such as Charter change, lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, re-imposition of the death penalty, and unli-martial law. “Electing candidates who support the #SAMPUSIGURADO agenda gives us all a fighting chance to save lives and livelihoods, freedom of the press, our remaining democratic institutions, our patrimony, and natural resources”, Carlos added.

Speaking on electoral agenda number 8, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines’ campaigner Ms. Desiree Llanos Dee said

“We are looking for public servants who would respect and fight for Filipinos’ rights to life, to health and to livelihood, including the realization of our constitutional rights to a healthy and balanced ecology. We want champions who will transform our cities into secure, safe, livable and sustainable cities and municipalities. We want leaders who would ensure that we all get to work safely without spending too much time in traffic-ridden, flood-prone, and air-polluted streets and byways. We will look for leaders who will rid of plastic pollution in our surrounding and waterways, leaders who will ensure that Filipinos have a steady supply of water, electricity and other basic services including providing early warning systems to enable quick response to climate emergencies.”

“Standing for national sovereignty is in our national interest,” said Atty. Virginia Suarez, Secretary General of Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya, “we cannot leave our fate in the hands of other nations who have their own interests in mind. We need a government who has a strong political will regarding this”, Suarez added, referring to the Chinese occupation of islands in the West Philippine Sea.

In the evening the group held an oath-taking ceremony in front of the parish where they vowed to elect candidates who hold the highest qualifications and commitment to human rights, environmental protection, equal justice, and inclusive peace.

PRESS RELEASE
8 May 2019
Contact: Mr. Rommel Yamzon, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) 09063959976

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