Category Archives: Most Rated Posts

HRonlinePH’s Readers’ Pick Awards for most rated post. Vote Now!

HRonlinePH’s Readers’ Pick Awards for most rated post. Vote Now!

As Human Rights Online Philippines officially launches its own domain ( on December 1, 2011, allow us to thank our contributors and friends by giving the “Pindoteros Awards” recognition to online bloggers, networks and campaigners who joined us and contributed to the success of our online project.

And as our way to campaign for more HR blogging and online human rights information sharing we invite readers to join us in picking the best posts to receive our HRonlinePH’s Readers Pick Awards.

Vote for your pick from the list of nominees below NOW! Simply click on the link below and rate the article by clicking the rate button to be found at the end of each post.  (Deadline of voting on November 30, 2011)

[Blogger] Voltes V generations, UNITE! Marcos is not a hero!

[Tula] Lahat ng tao’y may karapatan –

[Petition] Marcos is NO HERO – PAHRA

[People] Human Rights: Networks and Defenders – by Renato Mabunga

[Literary] Debate sa RH BILL –

[Literary/Tula] Himutok ng dalawang inang nawalan ng anak –

[Statement] Stop harassing human rights defenders, stop vilifying people- HRD-Pilipinas

[Statement] Torture and the Protection of Human Rights Defenders – HRD-Pilipinas

[Blogger] City of Lost Parents: The SAD Story –

[Blogger] PNoy’s 2nd SONA, So what’s new? – Carpe Diem

[Blogger] PALEA’s history –

[Press Release] Pasay judge rules for status quo on PALEA “occupation” – PALEA

[Press Release] Pasay judge rules for status quo on PALEA “occupation” – PALEA

In the hearing today on the case filed by Philippine Airlines (PAL) against six members of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) for obstructing the free ingress and egress at the In-Flight Center (IFC) along MIA Road, Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Ma. Rosario Ragaza ruled for a status quo. “In view of this status quo order, PALEA’s peaceful protest camp continues,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

The result of the hearing however was apparently lost on a Pasay sheriff who came today to the protest camp accompanied by PNP personnel to remind PALEA of the 72-hour temporary restraining order handed down last Monday by another Pasay RTC Judge Edwin Ramizo. No untoward incident transpired as PALEA members apprised the sheriff and the police of the latest developments.

In the hearing at Branch 108 of the Pasay RTC, the six PALEA members moved that the case be dismissed since it involves a labor dispute and as per provisions of the Labor Code is not under the jurisdiction of the civil courts. Tomorrow the parties were asked by Judge Ragaza to submit their position papers and a final decision is expected on Friday.

“In arguing its case against PALEA’s campout, PAL is contradicting itself. PAL says that the 2,400 PALEA members cannot be accepted back to work since the airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations departments have been closed and outsourced. So how come PAL alleges that the IFC which houses the catering department is essential to its operations. This raises the suspicions that it will allow Sky Kitchen, a supposed separate entity that at present provides substandard catering service according to reports reaching PALEA, access to the facilities of the IFC,” Rivera insisted.

PALEA had declared that it will not abandon the protest camp despite threats from PAL to have it dismantled. The union has also announced that the campout is part of the global movement against corporate greed and corruption inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests.

“The Occupy Wall Street movement is already in the Philippines despite Malacanang’s dismissive attitude. The experience of PALEA and North Triangle residents shows how this government has fallen captive to corporate interests such as Lucio Tan and the Ayalas. The seeds have been sown by PALEA’s occupation of this part of the airport area. The occupation movement in the country can only grow and bloom in the coming days,” argued Rivera.

Last Monday PALEA and North Triangle residents who are demanding on-site housing and fighting eviction by an Ayala property development firm joined forces in a symbolic occupation of Roxas Boulevard. They were supported by running priest Fr. Robert Reyes and the Freedom from Debt Coalition which has started a campaign to boycott PAL and Air Philippines.

Press Release
October 19, 2011
Contact Alnem Pretencio (PALEA VP) @ 09209543634
Bong Palad (PALEA Secretary) @ 09165740596

[Blogger] PALEA’s history –

[PALEA] HISTORY (Countdown to September 30 Blog. Day 1, Week 1)
by Koi Hernandez

(My blog post for the next following days is going to be about the PALEA, this is my way to show how I, as a normal blogger and teenager support their struggle.)

(In this1stblog post I’m going to lay out, how it all began.)

PALEA and their history.

On September 21, 1946 a group of about 50 ground technical/mechanics employees based in Nichols field, Pasay City, founded a Union popularly know as the PHILIPPINE AIRLINES EMPLOYEESASSOCIATION (PALEA).

Read more

[Blogger] PNoy’s 2nd SONA, So what’s new? – Carpe Diem

by Darwin Mendiola

President Benigno S. Aquino III’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) for many of his critics was nothing but a mouthful of litany without a substance.

Will his second SONA be different?

I bet to the last cents that PNoy’s second SONA will not be any dissimilar from his first.
If I sense it right, it is just about two things: those that he will say with conviction and those that he will not dare to say in order not to bite his own tongue.

There is nothing in his first SONA that showed any forward-looking solutions that his government is proposing to address the country’s endemic problems.

In fact, PNOy has become strangely passive in office for his first year, acting as if his only task is to discredit the Arroyos and to let the government do its work in a business as usual manner.

But he can’t keep dodging the bullet when there are many critical issues that posed great challenges to his administration.

On corruption

PNOY will surely throw out the baby with the bath water. To show that he is keen in moving his campaign slogan, “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”, he will not miss this chance to expose new anomalies and irregularities of the previous administration that his government has unearthed. He will brandish that his war on corruption is gaining ground.

It is no longer new and surprising to know the extent and magnitude of the PGMA’s misdeeds but what is good in barking without biting. it will best serve the interest of the public if this will lead to prosecution and punishment and not just mere public exposition.

On economy

Pnoy will certainly blow his own horn by announcing that his economic blueprint, known as “Social contract with the Filipino people” is on the right track as the economy is fast growing. The Philippine Development Plan or the six-year economic blueprint sums up the administration’s economic direction with its defined strategies and goals for the next six years.

The economists believed that PDP is straightforward. It means – keeping the economy afloat in the globalized free trade while intensifying privatization through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), and implementing social support programs like conditional cash transfers (CCTs) and fuel subsidies.

If economy is indeed improving, do we feel better off? Pnoy’s second SONA may play with figures. But translating it to poverty alleviation will be the biggest question that Pnoy needs to answer.

On peace and security

Pnoy will definitely claim that peace efforts are now in place in the resumption of the peace talks with Muslim and communist rebels.

But human rights groups have repeatedly recommended to the Philippine government to fully observe its legal obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. The continuing attack against the perceived legal fronts of the communist rebels through harassment, intimidation and criminalization of political offense will only squander the opportunity to address the root causes of insurgency.

On human rights

PNoy’s first SONA never said anything about human rights and his government’s commitment for its promotion and better protection except perhaps a passing mention of his administration’s effort to solve the six extrajudicial killings that happened during the first few months after assuming office.

The lack of a clear human rights agenda is believed to be the reason why human rights violations continue unabated.

On land reform

Despite having been the centerpiece program of her mother, the late President Corazon Aquino the agrarian reform program was completely left out from his first SONA. Although, Pnoy mentioned his plan to build grains terminals, refrigeration facilities, road networks and post-harvest facilities for agriculture. But the highly controversial Hacienda Luisita is one issue that he will not dare dip his finger in.

The uneven ownership of land continues to magnifies the uneven social gaps in the society.
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programs despite claims of its success has not able significantly to redistribute wealth and liberate the vast majority of agricultural lands under the principle of “land to the tillers”.

On OFW, labor and employment

Despite assurance that wage hike is imminent, PNoy will not go far in his second SONA to commit his government in complying with its constitutional mandate to provide workers a family living wage.

The labor sector has been assailing ever since the big mismatch between the actual needs of workers and their level of income as the wage system is based more on the ‘capacity to pay’ of an employer rather than the ‘capacity to buy’ of a worker.

While a small wage increase will only benefit a reducing number of regular workers due to outsourcing, retrenchment and contractualization, at least three million Filipinos are expected to be completely out of work due to the exodus of returning OFWs. PNoy has no other way but focus on local job generation rather than extending the “labor export policy.”

Whatever are the hypes and promises that Pnoy will say in his second SONA, what we are expecting more to hear is for Pnoy to declare that his government will work not only to improve governance but also to make the economy a foundation for humane and decent living with respect and protection of our fundamental human rights.

That will be music to our ears.

[Blogger] City of Lost Parents: The SAD Story –

We are re-posting this article written by Celia L. Sevilla of the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) shared by Lenin Castillo  in her blog entitled  Both Celia and Lenin are members of the Samahan ng mga Anak ng Desaparecido or SAD. Read on…




Mga Anak ng Desaparecidos 2011. Photo by Richie Supan

My uncle, Hermon C. Lagman, a human rights and labor lawyer, disappeared on May 11, 1977 – exactly twenty-eight years ago today. He disappeared before I was born, but while I had not been blessed enough to have known Uncle Mon in person, i grew up listening to anecdotes a mixture of fondness and grief. I listened to enough of them to conclude that my uncle was selfless, fearless, and is very sorely missed.

Uncle Mon was unmarried when he disappeared. He did not leave any children behind. Thus, while I grew up familiar with the pain felt by parents and siblings of a desaparecido’s disappearance on his or her children were unknown to me – until I met a group called SAD.


SAD or Samahan ng mga Anak ng mga Desaparecidos (Children of the Disappeared) was founded in 1990 by the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND). The Welfare and Rehabilitation Committee if FIND recognized that the children as well as the younger siblings of victims of involuntary disappearance needed spacial attention and rehabilitation. To ensure that their needs are adequately addressed, these children were organized into a group which was then included in the six lines of work of FIND. Thus, SAD was born.

The objective for founding SAD was to provide the children with much-needed rehabilitaion. In its early years, the focus of SAD was the attainment of this objective. Rehabilitation sessions and family conferences were conducted to help the children cope with their parents’ disappearance.


Gradually, as SAD evolved, it began to serve another purpose. The group became a very potent medium in projecting the issue of involuntary disappearance to the general public. It has since become an effective arm of FIND in the organization’s campaign against involuntary disappearance both locally and internationally.

In 1993, FIND together with Amnesty International (AI) launched a campaign against politikal killings and enforced disappearances. SAD actively t ook part in this activity, touring four European countries (Belguim, United Kingdom, Holland and Switzerland) to protest the killings and disappearaces through stage plays.

Two years later, SAD was again invited by the Dutch Section of AI to perform in the World Scouts Jamboree held in the Netherlands. This time, their performance depicted not just the phenomenon of involuntary disappearance, but encompassed the general state of human rights in the Philippines as well.

A decade has passed since the World Scouts Jamboree. Between thenand now, SAD went through periods of rough sailing. Still, it has managed to stay afloat. To learn about SAD’s more recent history, I talked with former Chairperson of SAD-National Capital Region (SAD-NCR) Eduardo “Waldo” Timbreza and current acting SAD-NCR Chairperson Edson Estojero.


Both Waldo’s parents were victims of involuntary disappearance. They disappeared when he was two years old and surfaced alive a year later. He became a SAD member in 1997 when he was thirteen years old. Two of his cousins, who were both members of SAD, invited him to join the organization. “They were preparing for a street play then. If I remember correctly, it was for the KNK or Kalbaryo ng Katarungan. That was when I was first welcomed by my fellow children of desaparecidos.

Waldo thinks that he gained more from SAD than SAD did from him. “A lot. I learned a lot during my stay in SAD. One thing, of course, is that while we act on stage we get to release our anguish and sadness over our paraents’ disappearance… Iwas only two years old when my parents disappear ed so I did not feel the impact of what happened to them too strongly. But when I saw how the other SAD members felt, those whose parents disappeared during their minds were sta rting to mature already… I felt their pain. I especially felt for my cousins. Their father disappeared and his body has not been found to this day.” Waldo also credits SAD for hining his thespian skills. “Theater itself. That was where acting skills were molded. Our talents in acting improved with the help of the other members who really persevered in teaching us how to act.”

Waldo remembers that at first, all their activities were related to theater. “It was almost purely theater. That was the medium we used to project the issue of involuntary disappearance to the public. Our first major disappearance to the public. Our first major production was at the PSSC (Philippine Social Science Center). We wrote the scripts ourselves, with the help of Direk Ernie Cloma of PETA.” Eventually, SAD conducted educational discussions for its members, aside from acting workshops. “In the succeeding years, from around 1998 until 2001, when I had to leave around 1998 until 2001, when I had to leave SAD because my family moved to the province, we had discussions about social issues.”

[Statement] Torture and the Protection of Human Rights Defenders – HRD-Pilipinas

[Every last week of June, the human rights community commemorates the International Day in Support for Victims of Torture.  Here is one of the statements released for the said event by HRD-Pilipinas. HRonlinePH]

(A statement of Solidarity on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture)

June 26, 2011, Philippines

Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas today joins the global community in commemorating the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.   Our solidarity on this important event comes in the context where human rights defenders in the Philippines and elsewhere are under attack.  Peoples organizations are vilified as terrorists and enemies of the state.  Their members, supporters and organizers are tagged as communists.  Movements are watched; projects and actions are suspected.  Human rights defenders are threatened, at risk and under surveillance.

We join the international appeal for the total abortion of the use of torture.  We put forward a dream where human rights defenders are sincerely considered partners in the creation and foundation of a worldwide culture of human rights, peace and development; where torture becomes a thing of the past; and, where human rights defenders are protected in the conduct of their duties.

On this significant day, Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas takes the occasion to remind us all that torture has no place in a civilized society like ours.  This is our protocol.  This is our challenge.  This is an urgent call in a country where torture is unconsciously accepted as the “standard operating procedure” of the security sector.  Where, pain is induced without remorse to exact confession; to break victims, their families, friends and organizations; to cow human rights defenders from pursuing works for human rights, peace, justice and development.

A torture-free society is also a society of compassion.  It seeks to eliminate cruel, degrading and inhuman conditions.  It looks at the circumstance of prisoners and the state of their incarceration.  We call for a special attention in the case of Mariano Umbrero, a prisoner of conscience with cancer now in fourth stage.  Together with the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and the rest of the human rights community, we appeal for his immediate pardon or granting of executive clemency on humanitarian grounds.  Due to his medical condition, his case needs urgent action; aside from the fact that no one shall be deprived of liberty based on political reasons.

Given our concrete condition today, we call for the reorientation of our institutions in the work for  human rights, to include “all” particularly the protection and promotion of the rights of human rights defenders.  In a functioning democracy, everybody has a responsibility to anybody; even ordinary citizen.  Thus, protection for HRDs is a responsibility of EVERYBODY lest we forget that we live as a community.

For more information, contact: companion
Renato Mabunga, Chairperson, 437-8054,

Human Rights Defenders – Pilipinas
#45 St. Mary Street, Cubao, Quezon City
Tel. # (632) 437-8054  Fax: (632) 911-3643

[Statement] Stop harassing human rights defenders, stop vilifying peoples’ organizations in Central Luzon – HRD-Pilipinas

June 15, 2011


In January this year the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) aired its claim of “paradigm shift” in its internal peace and security plan called “bayanihan” with “ugnayan” as the Northern Luzon Command’s (NOLCOM) counterpart campaign plan.  While we welcome the emphasis of “addressing the needs of our less fortunate communities, in collaboration with other stakeholders”, we are wary of the institution’s truthfulness and sincerity with the latest multiple harassment cases in Central Luzon.

From June 1 to 6 this year, residents of Barangay Taal, Purok 1, Malolos City, Province of Bulacan were witnesses to a new round of military operations by elements of the 70th Infantry (Cadre) Battalion, 7th ID Philippine Army and members of CAFGU.  They are looking for members of Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and SANLAKAS (all legal organizations), and alleged these groups have ties to the New People’s Army (NPA).  Families were interviewed and peoples’ organizations were vilified. At least three residents were asked to report to certain Sgt. Mendoza at the camp located in Niugan, Malolos.

The incident brings to fore canny military procedure that sows fear in the communities of Central Luzon.  What is more worrisome is the targeting of human rights defenders – members of organized groups whose only desire is to protect and assert their guaranteed rights under the Philippine Constitution and the International Bill of Rights.

In a landmark study on the protection of human rights defenders in the Philippines, Renato Mabunga, Chairperson of HRD-Pilipinas identified threats to Life, harassment and stigmatization as the dangers for human rights defenders.  These threats are borne-out of military operations’ house-to-house “census”, witch-hunting and vilification proceedings on community and peoples’ organizations.

The latest case in Bulacan undermines the sincerity of the armed forces’ security plan.  It projects a weak command of the military echelon in asserting a marching order of a paradigm shift.  A shift in orientation from the old concept and operation to new cooperative and synergetic actions together with various stakeholders in the community.

Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRD-Pilipinas) therefore calls on the Armed Forces of the Philippines:

–          to immediately stop its “census” and vilification operations in the communities of Central Luzon;

–          Review military actions in the field that breed human rights violations to individuals and communities;

–          Identify and penalize certain “Sgt. Mendoza” and company for instigating actions inimical to the image of the AFP as “changed institution”;

–           to investigate the case of harassment in Central Luzon and other areas of similar situation;

–          Re-orient its ranks and files in its claimed “broader framework of security serving society, acting in harmony with other government strategic policies for peace, security and development.”

To the Commission on Human Rights, to investigate and document this case in Brgy. Taal, Malolos City; and, monitor compliance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to human rights protection and promotion.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Renato Mabunga, Chairperson, 437-8054,

[Literary/Tula] Himutok ng dalawang inang nawalan ng anak –

ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.
12 pantig bawat taludtod

(Alay sa International Week of the Disappeared mula Mayo 29 hanggang Hunyo 4, 2011. Pinangunahan ng Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) at ng Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) ang paggunita sa isang aktibidad sa PeaceBell, QC Memorial Circle, Mayo 29, 2011.)

minsan nagkausap ang dalawang nanay
hinggil sa kanilang malungkot na buhay
sabi ng isa, “ang anak ko’y pinatay
ng mga salarin sa harap ng bahay”

“tinadtad ng bala ang kanyang katawan
tulala akong gagawi’y di malaman
hanggang sila’y tumakas ng tuluyan
habang anak ko’y walang buhay, duguan”

“takot, pangamba, paghihiganti, galit
katawan ko’y nanginig, ngipi’y nagngalit
karanasan naming mag-ina’y kaypait
bakit ba ang buhay sa mundo’y kaylupit?”

“maswerte po kayo,” ang sagot ng isa
natigagal siya kaya’t natanong nya
“namatayan ako’y bakit maswerte pa?
gayong anak ko’y tuluyang nawala na?”

at napaisip siya sa katugunan:
“nakita mo ang anak mo ng pinaslang
maayos na libing, siya pa’y nabigyan
at puntod niya’y alam mo kung nasaan”

“ngunit kami, kami’y di kasimpalad mo
kaytagal nang nawawala ng anak ko
di na makita kahit kanyang anino
anak ko’y isa nang desaparesido”

“anak ko’y nawawala pa hanggang ngayon
pinaslang ba siya, saan itinapon
inilibing ba siyang walang kabaong?
sadyang kailangan po namin ng tulong”

“di namin alam kung siya ba’y nasaan
sa pagkawala’y sinong may kagagawan
nasaan na kaya ang kanyang katawan
paghahanap ba’y wala nang katapusan?”

sadyang kaysakit para sa mga ina
na mawalang tuluyan ang anak nila
ang isa’y pinaslang, bangkay ay nakita
hinahanap pa kung nasaan ang isa

dalawang inang sadyang kahabag-habag
karapatan ng anak nila’y nilabag
sa dalawang krimen, sinong magbubunyag?
hustisya ba’y kailan mababanaag?

[Literary] Debate sa RH BILL – Matang Apoy

ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.
8 pantig bawat taludtod

(Hinggil sa debate sa ABS-CBN noong May 8,
at sa GMA 7 sa May 22, 2011)

ang hangarin ng babae
ay magpasya sa sarili
makinig kayong mabuti
sa adhika nila’t sabi

mga paring walang matris
bakit ninyo natitiis
ang babae’y iniinis
kayo din ba’y nagbubuntis

pakinggan ninyo ang sigaw
baka puso nyo’y matunaw
labing-isang nanay na raw
ang namatay bawat araw

dahil po sa kumplikasyon
ng pagbubuntis na iyon
RH Bill ipasa ngayon
baka ito’y makatulong

kalagayan ng babae
dadaanin sa debate
baka sakaling bumuti
ang lagay ng mga pobre?

“magparami kayo, bayan”
yaong turo ng simbahan
versus sa kababaihang
pagpapasya sa katawan

di ba kayo naaawa
labing-isang buhay nga
bawat araw ang nawala
di kayo mapagkalinga!

relihiyong mapang-api
ay dapat nang isantabi
aanhin pa ang debate
kung patay na ang babae

[People] Human Rights: Networks and Defenders – by Renato Mabunga

By:  Renato G. Mabunga

Renato Mabunga. Photo from CMA-Phils.

Renato Mabunga. File photo from CMA-Phils.

Human rights from its very inception are a large and encompassing concept.  It talks about human dignity.  It is all about dignity… and it is for ALL regardless race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.  Accordingly, it has evolved from  the idea that the world is governed by an invisible order which has endowed every person the concept of a perfect justice discernable by reason; making all humans equal in status of rights and dignity.  This concept of perfect justice has fortified both reason and conscience of each person to act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood/sisterhood without distinction, without discrimination.  This makes dignity a relational and a dynamic term and not just an empty concept or an ideal.  It becomes tangible in a relationship.  It finds meaning in relation with others and may be totally restored only with the help of others or of a network.

A network on the other hand, is a complex set of systems, which amplifies a message or a need or a call.  From the viewpoint of Organization Development (OD), network is the interconnection of various systems to take the form of a whole.  From individual HRD’s focal system to his or her organization as sub-systems, to his/her direct networks or the macro and related systems dealing with the protection of human rights defenders and victims down to other external organizations – the mega-system – dealing with human rights and upholding dignity of persons and communities in general.  It is a web of strings from which, one system provides and receives support to and from another system to ensure achievement of a larger goal.  An organization as a system in this regard maybe compartmentalized with various departments or programs doing specific jobs, yet in a larger view, each output serves the “reason for being” or the mandate of the organization.  Such implementation of mandate is the its contribution to a larger network of systems or to the larger whole working for the protection of human rights defenders and the promotion of human rights in general.  This defines the lines of engagement of each organization to a network in the overall platform of protection for HRDs.

This is the ideal role of a network: to facilitate and process information, come up with specific plans and arrive at concrete actions or activities within the bounds of each organizational mandate and philosophy to arrest and eliminate impending threats to organization or so as not to disrupt the dynamism of the “whole”.

Yet given the differences of each political beliefs and the degree of condition faced by each HRD, the ideal role of a network has become more of a challenge rather than a natural flow of relations.  At the onset, it is obstructed by external environment or external systems – the government, its security forces and other instrumentalities.   A case in point is the stigmatization of HRDs as “enemies of the state”.  Modern historical development of this terminology can be traced back when the Philippine government wantonly exerts all energies in winning the “war’ against insurgency.  From way back when freedom lovers were called “guerrillas” during the Spanish, Japanese and American occupation, to being tagged as “rebels, communists and insurgents” during the cold war campaigns and “terrorists and separatists” at the time of the post 9/11 era.  This idea has been galvanized into the psyche of ordinary Filipino people.  That, when an issue related to security of HRDs crops up, organizations have to battle up explaining first the legitimacy of human rights work before it can go into discussing the merits of the case itself.  It becomes mindset for most Filipinos when seeing people doing fact-finding missions, documenting cases, rallying and demonstrating in front of government offices and public places, to mark them as anti-government for reason that existing norm calls it to be so — a nuisance, opt to destabilize the government.

Within human rights organizations or within the network system itself, it is confronted with a much more dilemma.  A strong political and ideological divide impacts on and weakens the overall capacity of the human rights network.  It softens foundation for protection and decelerates resolution of cases of human rights violations.  “Turfing” is commonly the name of the game – those who do not toe the line of internal political directives, has no right to middle into the affairs of a case allegedly under the command of other’s.  Most often than not, the principle of non-cooperation is at work.  Worst, basic human rights principle of non-discrimination is breached.

Mistrust is plaguing internal relationship of the Philippine human rights movement – a reality unconsciously forcing the movement back to the era of sectarianism and highly sectoral perspectives.  It is losing the spirit of human rights for all.  And, by being so, losing the war against violators and thereby losing tract of the struggle for justice.

Thus, given the concrete condition of country’s human rights movement today, one practical role of a network is to help reorient human rights work to include “all” particularly the protection and promotion of the rights of human rights defenders.  Here, organizational vision, mission and programs must be revisited and aligned at resolving conflict in understanding and practical orientation on human rights and human rights work.  Between each network of organizations and defenders is a primary challenge to build bridges rather than continually burning ones.  To do this, is to start with small venues of cooperation – an issue-based cooperation that would slowly eradicate suspicions and initially rebuilds foundations of trust.

–    End     –

[Petition] Marcos is NO HERO – PAHRA

28 April 2011

Dear Friends,

In the past weeks, the proposed House Resolution 1135 declaring former President Ferdinand Marcos as worthy of a heroic burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery for Heroes) resulted in strong public sentiments against the recognition of the Marcos as a hero rather than the dictator and the leading human rights violator during his regime.

The dark era of the Marcos dictatorship ended in a revolution that marked the Philippines as the first country in Asia to regain democracy in a peaceful manner. The memory of the historical people’s struggle to break free from the tyrannical rule is now being sullied by the proposed house resolution.

Marcos’ launch and grasp over power were backed with impunitive measures that caused thousands of human rights violations to individuals and communities that until this day remains grossly unaccounted for.

Years of democratic freedom enjoyed today can never diminish the memory of the inhumanity that prevailed during the Marcos dictatorship. There can never be reconciliation with the atrocities committed during former President Marcos unless there is a recognition that human rights violations occurred, perpetrators are prosecuted for their corresponding liabilities and reparations were made to the Marcos victims.

It is in this light that PAHRA is appealing to you to join us in condemning the attempt to honor former dictator Ferdinand Marcos as a hero and prevent the passage of House Resolution 1135. We have prepared a statement in which you and your organizations can affix your signature. Attached is a copy of the suggested letter including the names of congressional representatives to whom we can send our appeal.

The proposed House Resolution 1135 is authored by Congressman Salvador Escudero and is alarmingly being supported by 190 congressional representatives.

For inquiries and comments, please contact us at (02) 436-2633 or (0927) 4012416.

Thank you and we hope you can join us in this campaign to help the nation remember that Marcos is a human rights violator and NOT a hero.


Max M. de Mesa

[Tula] Lahat ng tao’y may karapatan –

We are posting Greg Bituin’s poem or tula in celebration of Labor day. Greg  is a poet, a writer, a socialist and a human rights activist who expresses his advocacy for the promotion and defense of human rights of the oppressed through his writings, organizing and joining mass actions.

You can see more of Greg’s literary works in his blog “Matang Apoy”  at

Lahat ng tao’y may karapatan

tayo’y hindi dapat magpaapi na lamang
sa sinumang taong pawang mga gahaman
dapat matuto ngang sa kanila’y lumaban
pagkat mga tulad nila’y pawang iilan

lahat ng tao sa mundo’y may karapatan
na mabuhay sa mundo ng may kalayaan
‘di niya karapatang maapi ninuman
at ‘di rin karapatang mapagsamantalahan

ngunit karapatan niyang makipaglaban
at huwag mabuhay sa takot kaninuman
kaya nga maraming bayaning nagsulputan
para sa paglaya’y nakikipagpatayan

sa sama-sama’y may lakas tayo, kabayan
ipakita natin ang ating kalakasan
ating babaguhin ang bulok na lipunan
at ating dudurugin ang ating kalaban

[Blogger] Voltes V generations, UNITE! Marcos is not a hero!

ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.

Mayorya ng Kongreso, pati na si P-Noy, nais kilalaning bayani si dating Pangulong Marcos. Hindi tayo dapat pumayag. Maraming nakulong, namatay, naulila, sa panahon ng kanyang diktadura. Nagalit ang taumbayan na nagresulta ng people power 1 at pinatalsik si Marcos. Insulto ito sa henerasyon namin – mga kabataang namulat sa pulitika nang tinanggal ni Marcos ang Voltes V na kinagiliwan namin noon, isang kwento ng kabayanihan, isang kwento ng kolektibong pagtutulungan ng magkakasama para gapiin ang kaaway, isang kwentong tinanggal ni Marcos dahil daw tinuturuan ang mga kabataang magrebelde laban sa kanyang diktadura.

Gayunman, simula lang ang Voltes V sa pagkamulat namin. Sa pagdaan ng panahon, nakita naming higit pa kay Voltes V ang naranasan ng masang Pilipino sa ilalim ng diktadura. Maraming kabataan ang nagbuwis ng buhay, maraming dinukot at pinaslang, ang iba’y di na makita ang kanilang katawan. At ngayon, binubuhay muli ang isang multong dapat nang ibaon sa limot. Bayani nga ba si Marcos? Bayani nga ba ang nagtanggal kay Voltes V? Bayani nga ba ang diktador na nagbaba ng martial law at nanupil sa sarili niyang mamamayan? Bayani nga ba ang isang pangulo kung ang iniwan nitong bakas ng pamumuno ay duguan, maraming napaslang, at maraming desaparecidos na hindi pa nakikita hanggang ngayon? Hindi ba’t maraming pinaslang na aktibista sa panahon niya? Hindi ba’t maraming dyornalista ang pinatay sa ilalim ng kanyang diktadura?

Hindi ba’t mas dapat ilibing sa Libingan ng mga Bayani ang mga martir ng martial law, ang mga nagtanggol sa bayan laban sa diktadura, ang mga pinaslang na aktibistang ang tanging kasalanan ay nangarap ng magandang lipunang hindi sumusupil ng karapatan?

Nais ng mga kongresistang baguhin ang kasaysayan. Yaong nararapat na mailibing sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, tulad ng mga aktibistang nagsakripisyo para ipagtanggol ang karapatang pantao, ay hindi doon inililibing. At ang nais pang ilibing doon ay yaong diktador na dahilan ng kamatayan ng marami.

Mga kasama, niyuyurakan nila ang dangal at pagkatao natin. Hindi tayo dapat pumayag. Hindi bayani ang diktador na si Marcos!


ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.

Isang aktibista ako ngayon. Aktibistang manunulat. Aktibistang makata. Nagsusulat sa mga publikasyon ng manggagawa’t maralita. Ngunit paano ba ako namulat bilang aktibista? Dahil ba ako’y nayaya, o dahil may mga pangyayari sa buhay ko na nagmulat sa akin?

Isa sa mga nagmulat sa akin nuong aking kabataan upang maging aktibista sa kasalukuyan ay ang ginawang pagtanggal ng palabas na cartoons na Mazinger Z at Voltes V sa telebisyon. Ang dalawang ito ang pinakapopular na palabas para sa mga kabataan nuong aking kapanahunan. Panahon iyon ni Marcos. At isa ako sa mga nagalit sa pagtanggal niya ng mga palabas na iyon.

Tuwang tuwa kaming mga bata sa kalyeng iyon sa Balic-Balic sa lugar ng Sampaloc sa Maynila, at nagkakakwentuhan lagi kung paano ba dinurog nina Mazinger Z at Voltes V ang kani-kanilang kalaban. Uso pa nga noon ang text (di yung text ngayon sa cellphone) na pulos cards na nakadrowing sina Voltes V at Mazinger Z.

Basta’t tuwing Miyerkules ng hapon, inaabangan na namin ang Mazinger Z, habang tuwing Biyernes naman ang Voltes V. Kahit ang awitin ng Voltes V ay kabisado namin noon, bagamat di naman patok ang theme song ng Mazinger Z. Parehong robot na bakal ang bidang sina Mazinger Z at Voltes V. Ang layunin nila’y depensahan ang sangkatauhan laban sa mga pwersa ng mga masasamang nilalang.

Ang nagpapagalaw sa Mazinger Z ay si Koji Kabuto. Ang Voltes V naman naman na pinamumunuan ni Steve Armstrong, ay pinagdugtong-dugtong na sasakyang panghimpapawid ng limang katao, na pag nag-volt-in ay magiging malaking robot, si Voltes V. Ang lima ay sina Steve Armstrong, Big Bert, Little John, Mark at ang nag-iisang babae ay si Jamie.

Ang panlaban ni Mazinger Z ay ang mata nitong pantunaw ng kalaban (o laser beam), at ang rocket punch nito, na natatanggal ang kamay bilang rocket, at ang dibdib nito’y ginagawang laser sa kalaban (melting rays). Kasama ni Mazinger Z si Aphrodite A sa ilang yugto ng palabas.

Ang panlaban naman ni Voltes V ay Bazooka, mga shuriken, at ang pantapos niya ng kalaban ay ang laser sword, na hinihiwa ang katawan ng mga kalabang robot o halimaw sa pormang V. Ang pangunahin nilang kalaban ay si Prince Zardos.

Ilang linggo na ang nakalilipas nang biglang ito’y mawala sa ere at di na namin napanood. Ang sabi sa balita, tinanggal daw ito ni Marcos na ang idinadahilan ay tinuturuan daw ang mga tao, lalo na ang mga kabataan, upang magrebelde. Bata pa ako noon, at nagtataka ako kung bakit ganito ang dahilan nila. Gayong para sa amin, magaganda silang panoorin. Syempre, cartoons eh. At tagapangtanggol pa ng mga inaapi.

May galit na namuo sa akin nung panahong iyon. Tinanggal ang kinagigiliwan naming cartoons. Mula noon, galit na ako sa namumunong nagtanggal ng palabas na iyon – kay Marcos. Di lang ako, kundi marami pang kabataan ang may ganitong pakiramdam, nagalit sa pamahalaan, at naging aktibista. Marami kaming kabataan ang namulat sa kalagayan ng bayan dahil sa pagkakatanggal ng mga palabas na iyon. Isa nga ako doon.

Bahagi na ng aking kabataan at pagkamulat bilang tibak sina Mazinger Z at Voltes V. Huli nang ipinalabas sina Daimos (at ang pag-ibig niya kay Erica), Mekanda Robot, Voltron, atbp.

Anim o pitong taon makalipas, nakasama ako ng aking ama, kasama ang kanyang grupong Holy Name Society, sa pamimigay ng pagkain sa mga taong nagtipon sa Edsa. Ilang araw lamang, lumayas na si Marcos sa Pilipinas.

Ilang taon na rin akong kumikilos bilang aktibista. Halos magdadalawang dekada na. At natutuwa akong gunitain na hindi pa dahil sa martial law, kundi dahil tinanggal ni Marcos ang mga paborito naming cartoons, kaya namulat ako sa kalagayan ng bansa.