Government propaganda machine Philippine News Agency is misleading the public and falsely reported that PAHRA’s operation as NGO is illegal because its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration has been revoked. In its continuing attack on civil society, the Duterte administration, now through the SEC named PAHRA along with other human rights and sectoral organizations as communist supporters.
In fact, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates re-filed and was duly registered again with the SEC since 2010 and this registration information is publicly available. It has been operating legally without encumbrances save for those which government levies on its critics. PAHRA has served for more than thirty years empowering sectors and grassroots communities to improve their lives through human rights advocacy. It has worked with the international community to strengthen human rights implementation and accountability worldwide; and cooperated with academic, legal, and government agencies including the Commission on Human Rights on numerous projects.
SEC’s press release finally sheds light to the true objective of the recently issued SEC Memo Circular 15 Series of 2018, purportedly to protect NPOs (Non-Profit Organizations) from terrorists and money laundering financing abuse by assessing the level of risk of NPOs. The risk assessment is supposed to start when all NPOs have submitted their profile by July 31, 2019. It’s incredible that PAHRA and other NPOs have already been rendered judgement. The SEC is being used by Duterte to target these organizations as he targets the church, independent media, strong women and political opponents, with a single aim to debilitate any and all voices of criticism.
PAHRA is not connected in any way to the CPP nor the NPA. The real agenda why the SEC is acting as an intelligence bureau making this claim is to march to the beat of Duterte’s authoritarian cadence- to silence PAHRA, its partners and network, and all those raising the alarm about the dangerous path onto which this administration is taking the country.
The government’s action is a retaliation to the consistent and comprehensive opposition of PAHRA to government policies at the outset, including the war on drugs, martial law, TRAIN law, contractualization, mining law, charter change and all other “kill bills” that Congress has enacted.
Protecting and defending human rights is first and foremost, government’s legal obligation. As long as government itself continue to violate this mandate it is the people who will rise time and again to demand a rights-based governance towards the realization of social justice and human rights for all.
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