Tag Archives: Statement

[Appeal] Open Letter to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and All Duty-bearers

Open Letter to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and All Duty-bearers

The people has chosen you as the new primary duty-bearers of the State’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfill all human rights of all its constituencies who have been short-changed or failed by the past administrations since the uprising in EDSA against the dictatorship of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.  Headed by Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the national Chief Executive and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, together with the local executives and the national and local legislators, either newly elected or re-elected, are the duty bearers of human rights.

Everyone of you, chosen candidates, will have been sworn in as Duty-bearers by June 30, 2016 to uphold the Philippine Constitution.  Among others this solemn oath include provisions pertaining explicitly to human rights, such as Article II: The Declaration of Principles and State’s Policies, and Article III: The Bill of Rights.  Obligations to human rights became more explicit when the country signed and ratified international human rights treaties, among others, the United Nations International Bill of Rights (UN IBR) including the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on Civil and Polictical Rights  (which abolishes the death penalty), the UN Convention Against Torture (UN CAT), UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (UN CEDAW), UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD),  UN Convention on International Humanitarian Law including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Though many of our human rights in the international HR treaties already have enabling laws, there are many others which are urgently needed, like the Zero Hunger Bill for the progressive realization of the right to adequate food and the People’s Freedom of Information Bill to enhance transparency and accountability in  a rights-based governance through the implementation of the right to information.

These obligations to human rights are integral to your positions as duty-bearers.  These obligations are neither optional nor subject to selectivity.  These obligations must always respect, protect and fulfill human rights according to international standards and to our national laws and to the needs of the people.  On these, the duty-bearers must finally base  their governance and development plans and programs. The obligations may be  daunting and difficult, but not impossible to realize.

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and all other undersigned Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) thus express our collective willingness to converge with the efforts of Duty-bearers, including the Human Rights Offices and personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

As claimholders of human rights, we are, according to our capabilities, willing to work together at the national and local levels, in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches of Government, to realize immediately and progressively the human rights of our people, especially the poor and most vulnerable among them.

Together with other human rights defenders, at different appropriate occasions, we will present our common working Human Rights Agenda to duty-bearers and claimholders alike.

At the same time, as we converge to promote human rights (civil, political, economic, social and cultural), we shall maintain and sustain vigilance and alertness against human rights violations, much more against impunity, against the same rights to avoid and to rectify the short-comings and mistakes of the past and to ensure non-recurrence.

Through documentation and monitoring, we will expose and condemn attempts and acts that encourage, condone, justify and even reward, perpetrators against human rights and the rule of law.

We will also stand firm against any attempt to turn tens of thousands of gross human rights violations during Martial Law of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, a fake World War II bemedalled soldier, into heroic deeds with a burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Extolling impunity is worse than just glossing over violations. Giving honors to impunity not only perpetuates but encourages further commission of violations.  On the other hand,, pursuing and obtaining justice against past violations builds a stronger foundation for the future of human rights in our country.

Finally, we will build formations of Human Rights Defenders at all levels of governance to promote and to defend human rights without compromise.

June 30, 2016

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC)
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Asian Federation Against Disappearance (AFAD)
Balaod Mindanaw
Balay Rehabilitation Center
Center for Migrants Advocacy (CMA)
Childrens Legal Research and Development
Claimants 1081
Focus on the Global South
Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (LAHRA)
Makabayan Pilipinas
Medical Action Group, Inc. (MAG)
Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement (MPPM)
Namess Heroes and Martyrs, Inc.
Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)
Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA)
Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Council of the Laity of the Philippines)
Sumpay Mindanao
Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan
Woman Health Philippines

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila
Ana Maria R. Nemenzo
Candy Diez
Carmen Lauzon-Gatmaitan
Atty. Cecilia Jimenez
Ellecer Carlos
Evelyn Serrano
Ging Cristobal
Marria Natividad Pescante
Atty. Milabel Cristobal
Niza Concepcion
Dr. Renato Mabunga
Rick Reyes
Rosemarie Trajano
Prof. Walden Bello
Violeta de Guzman

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change the original material.

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[Statement] Pagmumulat, pag-oorganisa at pagpapakilos ang siya nating mabisang sandata -HRonlinePH.com

HRonlinePH new logo 2Ang tulang ito ay nagsilbing pahayag ng Human Rights Online Philippines (HRonlinePH.com) para sa pag-alala sa araw ng Karapatang Pantao (HR Day 2015). Isinulat ni Darwin Mendiola at binasa ni Dr. Renato “Boyet” Mabunga nuong ika-4 ng Disyembre 2015, sa pagtatanghal ng 5th Human Rights Pinduteros’ Choice Awards.

Dr. Boyet Mabunga. Photo by Rapha-El 'Olegs" Olegario

Dr. Boyet Mabunga. Photo by Rapha-El ‘Olegs” Olegario

Ang karapatan natin online
ay karapatan din natin offline…
Kung nasisiil ang karapatang ito offline,
May mga bantang paniniil din online…
Kung nalabag ang karapatan natin sa mapayapang pagtitipon…
Di malayong apakan ang karapatan natin sa pagbibigay impormasyon..
Kung ano ang ating ipinakitang tapang sa gitna ng lansangan
Yan din ang kailangan para ang karapatan natin sa internet ay maipaglaban.
Kailangan ba natin ng batas para tayo maproteksyunan…
O isang deklarasyon ba ay sapat para tayo ay kilalanin at pakingan…
Cybercrime ba ang malayang pagpapayag?
O isang itong represyon ng gobeyernong huwad.
Malang may dossier ka na sa ISAFP o NBI
Facebook mo pa lang, alam na ang iyong buong buhay…
o mag-ingat ka sa identity theft,
baka bukas may email ka na you need some help.
May dapat gawin, may dapat na seryosohin
Huwag na nating hintayin ang mangyari sa atin
Ang pagbabalik ng batas militar, di dapat isnabin
Dahil posible yan sa halalang dararating…
Si HRONLINEPH.com ay inyo lang plataporma…
Para maparating sa netizens ang ating mga adbokasiya..
Di dapat natin isawalang bahala
Na ang pagmumulat, pag-oorganisa at pagpapakilos ang siya nating mabisang sandata.
Upang mapanatili ang demokrasya…
At maitaguyod ang karapatan ng bawat isa…


[Statement] Giving power to the people through the internet -HRonlinePH.com

Giving power to the people through the internet

What matters is not technology, but how we use it.

The use of the internet is one of the issues to have arisen in recent times. And we all stood not merely as witnesses but as users of the transforming power of the internet in advancing various issues of human rights from freedom of expression, gender equality to climate justice among others.

HRonlinePH new logo 2

The internet provides an enormous space for people to speak up against abuses by authorities and claim for their rights, and social media is increasingly playing a huge role in disasters and humanitarian efforts. The typhoon Yolanda, earthquake in Bohol and more recently the typhoon Ruby all saw prominent use of social medial by survivors, relief aid organizations and media alike. The use of the internet also enables affected communities to quickly transform themselves into first responders and messenger of news.

While we recognize that the internet in and of itself does not save lives, the intelligent and effective use of internet does.  In the World Disasters Report 2013 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, “focuses on the rapid spread of technologies, especially information and communication technologies, which is changing humanitarian action and humanitarians, too.” The internet, in the hands of the people, we can witness effective and life-saving results and expose massive corruption-laden rehabilitation projects.

This is evidently shows the power of the internet being used for advancement of human rights and for public good.

While the internet rights are already considered human rights and fundamental freedoms, yet they are increasingly at risk in so many aspects of our lives. Not only for the fact that people anywhere and everywhere who speak up against any forms of abuses, injustices and violence are often placed in danger.  Access to the internet in some part of the globe remains censored or banned. Even in democratic countries like the Philippines, there are already attempts to infringe the right to privacy in communications that consequently threaten the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and opinion.

We fully recognize that with every right, there is a corresponding responsibility, though freedom requires self regulation, the responsible use of the internet offers concrete actions to make humanitarian assistance more effective and accountable, and we must intelligently use the internet to Inform, Inspire and Mobilize people to effect real change.

Today as we commemorate the International Human Rights Day 2014, we must bear in mind that human rights are inherent among us. Let us all work together to contribute in the advancement of human rights, make use of the internet powerful and effective every day.

Human Rights Online Philippines

December 10, 2014

[Statement] CLUP Now! Statement of Support to Climate Walk: A People’s Walk for Climate Justice

CLUP Now! Statement of Support to
Climate Walk: A People’s Walk for Climate Justice

The Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!) , a network of Peoples’ Organizations (POs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) advocating for the passage of a National Land Use Act (NLUA), is one with our Climate Warriors led by Comm. Sano in undertaking the Climate Walk: A People’s Walk for Climate Justice. This 40-day journey is a bold and timely initiative for everyone to show their concern for our planet and the survival of the human race. The climate fairs, as part of the program, are also good platforms to discuss the country’s needs in building a disaster-resilient nation.

The NLUA, which we currently lobby for in the Senate, is one of those climate-related policies supported by Comm. Sano that can help reduce impacts of natural and man-made disasters, such as that experienced during super typhoon Haiyan. The passage of NLUA can help protect millions of lives by proper identification of geo-hazard areas fit for safer settlements and livelihoods. The NLUA is intended to provide for a rational, holistic, and just allocation, utilization, management, and development of the country’s land and water resources. Comprehensive land use planning through proper allocation of land and water resources will achieve long-term objectives of security, social equity, and sustainability in the country. It is crucial especially in these times in light of climate change, worsening of disasters, and the looming food and water crises.

CLUP Now hopes that this campaign will inspire people and encourage decision makers around the world to make urgent and ambitious actions to address climate crisis that greatly affect vulnerable countries like the Philippines.

With this, the network offers our sincere support for this event to achieve its objectives by sending representatives to join the walk for certain distances and participate in some of the climate fairs.

CLUP Now! believes that the Climate Walk will significantly increase the awareness of the people which will translate into people-led climate revolution and will result to positive drastic actions that include the immediate passage of NLUA. The network hopes that through this event, we can achieve the climate justice that we are all aiming for.

For more information on the NLUA, contact:

Kim Alvarez, CLUP Now!, 0918-6545059, kbalvarez@gmail.com
Gillian Cruz, CLUP Now!, 09157830489, gillianmariecruz@gmail.com
CLUP Now! Network, campaignfornlua@gmail.com

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[Statement] Poverty kills teachers -TDC

Poverty kills teachers

The shocking incident in Pangasinan National High School yesterday should serve as an eye opener for all of us. Two major issues of public education sector were put in highlight- violence and poverty. The shooting that resulted to the death of three people, two of them teachers and wounding of several others is the latest recorded incident of violence in schools involving teachers as victims. However, the reason behind this shooting is more appalling. According to the reports and the initial investigation, the gunman, who is a member of Pangasinan police force is collecting loans from his clients- the teachers when an altercation happen that led to the shooting spree. It is almost incomprehensible that some people kill to collect loans while others die because of debt.


With this incident, we would like to validate the public perception that teachers- or at least many of them are living in what we describe as “hand to hand” existence- worse than “hand to mouth” description. That is the literal handing of money to lenders right after they receive their salaries.

Teachers are the favorite clients of lending institutions and loan sharks because they are good payers. Teachers frequent the lending queues to make ends meet. And up to the point beyond the minimum take-home pay policy, teachers would find ways to borrow money- pawning their ATM cards of even certifying payments from anticipated bonuses to lenders. Yes, teachers are living in a borrowed income.

Thus, we call on the government to prevent the incidents of this kind in the future by providing just salaries and adequate remuneration and benefits- monetary or otherwise. Particularly, we call on President Aquino to certify Senate Bill 2146 and Senate Bill 2365 filed by young senators Sonny Angara and Bam Aquino, respectively. SB 2146 seeks to reform the tax system and collect more taxes from the rich and less from the poor while SB 2365 pushes for a P10, 000.00 additional compensation for public school teachers. These proposed measures, if enacted into law would surely augment the living of our teachers.

This government should sincerely care for the welfare of its teachers and never allow them to be killed for an unpaid loan. #

Reference: Benjo Basas, TDC Cahirperson- 09205740241

September 2, 2014

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[Statement] Deadly Denim: Workers Burned Alive Making Jeans for Export

Statement by International Labor Rights Forum

Deadly Denim: Workers Burned Alive Making Jeans for Export

You have ruthless buyers sitting in the U.S. who don’t care what you do, as long as you do it on time… We take a hit every time we’re late. That means lost margins. That means we do what we need to do to make our orders, fast. This factory owner may have been working extra shifts just for that purpose…
–Ali Ahmad, Owner of Nizam Textiles in Karachi, Pakistan1

In the aftermath of the deadly factory fires in Pakistan on September 11, 2012, Pakistani unions have called for the factory owner and local government officials to be held accountable. ILRF expresses our deep sorrow for the pain, suffering, and loss of life caused by the owner’s, the buyers’ and the government authorities’ unconscionable neglect. We stand in solidarity with the workers of Pakistan, and support the demands of the unions. We also call on the brands and retailers that together buy $11 billion of Pakistani apparel each year to take responsibility for making Pakistani factories safe for workers.

More than 300 trapped workers were killed in two separate fires on the same day—289 workers in an apparel factory in Karachi and 25 workers in a shoe factory in Lahore—a day Nasir Mansoor, leader of the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan (NTUF)—calls the “darkest and saddest day in the history of Pakistan’s labor movement.”

The Karachi factory, Ali Enterprises, operated illegally, without proper registration. When fire broke out—reportedly for the fourth time within two years—more than 600 workers were trapped. The main sliding door was locked to protect the merchandise; windows were barred with iron grills; stairs and doorways were blocked with piles of finished merchandise; and there were no emergency exits. None of the workers had appointment letters and most of them were contract employees hired by a third party. As contract workers they were not entitled to social security or workers’ compensation. None of these workers had the security to voice their fears about the risky working conditions they found themselves in.

Mansoor’s union, NTUF, demands the arrest of the factory owner for murder, and the resignation of several government officials for severe negligence. NTUF also demands compensation for the families of deceased workers and for injured workers; inspections of all factories in coordination with worker-representative bodies; the registration of all factories under the Factory Act; the abolishment of the contract-workers system; the issuance of appointment letters to all workers; and the provision of social security, old-age benefits, and worker-welfare programs to all workers.

Buyers, too, are culpable for the deaths of the workers and must take responsibility for workplace safety. The recent fires in Karachi and Lahore were not the first garment factory fires in Pakistan, not even the first fire at Ali Enterprises. In fact, Mansoor notes that rarely a month goes by without an explosion, fire or structural collapse in Pakistan’s garment industry. However, when only one or two workers die on the job, these incidents go unreported. “These factories are chemical bombs, waiting to happen,” he says.

The conditions in the Karachi and Lahore factories were reportedly typical of garment factories in Pakistan, and the risk of fire is equally high in many other facilities. Alarmingly, apparel factory fires appear to be increasingly globalized. For many years, we heard mostly about fires in Bangladesh where more than 100 reported factory fires since 1990 have killed more than 750 workers. Now, fires in Pakistan are being reported, and just one day after the Pakistani fires, a fire in a Moscow sweatshop killed 14 Vietnamese immigrants who were trapped behind a door that was locked and barred with a sledgehammer from the outside.2

These fires are not the product of exceptional circumstances, isolated examples of especially greedy or negligent owners, or freak accidents that strike much like natural disasters with nobody responsible. The fires are the product of the failings of the global apparel industry. They are the logical result of the lethally low prices buyers offer the factories and the lightning-quick deliveries they require. When factory owners are squeezed by the buyers they are not going to invest in proper factories with functioning fire escapes and sprinkler systems and worker training on proper procedures in case of fires. On the contrary, they are going to rush to get orders done as cheaply as possible, no matter the cost to workers. If the buyers require compliance with labor and safety standards, the factories will find ways to create the impression of compliance because real compliance is not possible under the business terms they are given.

In the case of Ali Enterprises, the owner, one of the country’s major exporters of garments, was rushing to get an order ready in time for year-end shopping and was making his employees work overtime to avoid the high cost of air freight. The owner had reportedly obtained a fake certificate from an audit company to satisfy buyers abroad that the factory met required safety standards.3 Workers told The New York Times that managers had forced them to lie about working conditions to auditors representing foreign buyers. Do not complain or you will lose your job, they were told. This is typical in Pakistan, and typical in the global apparel industry.

The horror of this Pakistani fire is yet one more wake-up call for the brands and retailers that cheap products come at a steep price for workers—an unconscionably steep price. It is time for the brands to put workers’ lives ahead of brand image, and promote real solutions. The best model for real fire safety in the global apparel industry is one that has: independent factory inspections; freedom for workers to report on dangers in their own workplace and to have a voice in their workplace; a binding commitment from brands to work with suppliers to implement the program; and fair prices for factories so that they can invest in safety. So far only the Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation and the German retailer, Tchibo, have agreed to adopt such a program in Bangladesh. We call on all brands and retailers to sign on quickly and replicate the program in other countries.

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[Statement] Extrajudicial killings are inconsistent with the “straight path” of PNoy.It must stop now! -FIAN

Extrajudicial killings are inconsistent with the “straight path” of PNoy.It must stop now!

The killing of Dutch missionary Willem Geertman, in broad daylight, is a gravely serious assault on human rights. It reflects the failure of the state to protect the most basic of all human rights – the right to life.

It highlights the apparent continuing impunity in post-Arroyo administration where killings of journalists and those suspected of being sympathetic to the armed left movement, even if they are civilians, continue.

As an advocate of basic human rights, the Food-First Information and Action Network (FIAN), condemns in the strongest terms this latest act of violence. These killings are inconsistent with the “straight policy direction” of Benigno Aquino III who time and again declared that his administration will correct the wrongs of the previous government. This policy, however, must go beyond the issue of corruption. Equally important is for the Aquino administration to uphold human rights and resolve the extra-judicial killings during the Arroyo administration.

Two years into his term, however, the Aquino administration has not only failed to resolve extra-judicial killings, as reported by many local and international human rights groups but has steadfastly de-emphasized human rights by studiously remaining silent on the issue.

The continuing failure of the government to arrest former General Jovito Palparan, who was believed to have masterminded many killings under the Arroyo administration, highlights failure to resolve human rights violations. Worse, the killing of Dutch missionary Geertman gives us reasons to believe that extra-judicial killings continue with impunity under the Aquino administration.

We remind the President of the Philippines that the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has condemned extra-judicial killings in the Philippines and that 69 countries recommended that the government take measures to stop them. FIAN Philippines welcomes the creation of a special investigation group to probe Geertman’s murder. We urge for the immediate arrest and prosecution of those responsible in order to serve justice to the victim, his family, and Filipinos whom he has served faithfully for over four decades.

It is in this regard that we would like to call on the Aquino government to swiftly resolve the killing of Geertman and bring the perpetrators to justice. His pronouncement of “Tuwid na Daan” or “Straight Path” rings hollow in the face of continuing extra-judicial killings. The killings must be stopped and they must be stopped now.
FIAN Philippines

Contact Person:
Aurea G. Miclat-Teves
FIAN Philippines President

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[Statement] Human Rights Defenders have the rights! – HRD-Pilipinas

(A Statement on the 63rd Human Rights Day &
the 13th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders)

On the 63rd celebration of the International Human Rights Day (December 10), we pay tribute to thousands of human rights defenders (HRDs) who offered their lives in the cause of freedom and dignity of life.  We take pride in the continuing assertion of others amid violent repression.  We salute those who have never wavered for the cause of human rights.

More than ever this year is a witness to the blossoming of human rights as an ideal and value in action.  The uprisings that spring from the Arab world, the protests that sweep major cities and urban centers in Europe, the Americas and Africa, the continuing difficult situations in Asia, all of which highlight the mainstreaming of human rights in governance and the aspiration of peoples for respect, protection, promotion and defense for human rights.  These conditions bring out the core spirit of people to be human rights defenders.  Young and old, male and female or whatever sexual orientation, rich and poor, summon all their voices together in pains of oppression in crying out mantras of non-discrimination, people empowerment and development, equality and human rights for all.

With these mantras, many tools have been mustered to usher effective advocacies and facilitate peoples’ solidarity with those who face persecution.  The social media for one made people see the actions going on.  Captured pictures and videos not allowed in a ‘seemingly’ controlled media have found their way through available modern communication technology, reaching even the remotest areas many people have not known to exist.  Appeals for help and international solidarity are made timely, on time and online.   ‘Revolutions’ for human rights have become virtual reality through communication gadgets made available for ordinary people.  What is inspiring, people have mastered these technologies to spread out the news, the truth and the dream of people to be free.  And, recognize the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world (UDHR, 1948; ICCPR, 1966; ICESCR, 1966).

On December 10, human rights defenders are celebrating too the 13th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.  Their noble desire to promote the well-being of all has prompted the United Nations (UN) to pass Resolution A/RES/53/144 in 1998.  It recognizes the importance and legitimacy of the works of those who are at the forefront of defending human rights.  It acknowledges the vital role of HRDs in the implementation of human rights both in the international and on the domestic levels.

On these two important occasions, Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas asserts that:

·         Everyone has the right to promote and strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

·         Everyone has the freedom of assembly, association and the right to communicate;

·         Everyone has the right to know, seek, receive and disseminate human rights information and form/hold opinions on the matter for public attention;

·         We have the right to develop new human rights ideas and advocate for their acceptance;

·         We have the right to effective access and participate in the conduct of public affairs, and to submit proposals and criticism;

·         We have the right to an effective remedy and protection from violation, the right to complain about official acts, the right to observe trials, and the right to unhindered access to international bodies;

·         Everyone has the right to participate in peaceful activities publicizing human rights violations and to be protected against violence or adverse discrimination.

Human Rights Defenders have the RIGHTS.  Let everyone put them to heart.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Renato G. Mabunga
Chairperson, Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas
Email: hrd.pilipinas@gmail.com
Tel: 437-8054

December 10, 2011

[Statement] Enforced Disappearance is Anti-Life… No to Untold Sufferings…. Sign and Ratify the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance! – AFAD

Enforced Disappearance is Anti-Life…
No to Untold Sufferings….
Sign and Ratify the UN Convention
for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance!

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances joins all families of the disappeared persons around the world in the commemoration of the International Week of the Disappeared from May 26 to June 1. This week of the desaparecidos was first commemorated by the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared-Detainees (FEDEFAM) more than a couple of decades ago.

In the observance of this occasion, AFAD affirms the right of every person to life, liberty and dignity and therefore, the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearance. The essential value of one’s existence is to live freely without discrimination, prejudices and harm. Enforced disappearance does not only violate these basic human rights by physically removing a person from the protection of the law but it also denies the families of the disappeared persons the right to know the truth and to seek justice.

Enforced disappearance is a global phenomenon. It has been occurring everywhere – down the street, in the barrios, in the upland, on the highway, in the woods, in the desert, at the border, and even in the household. In many points of the globe, there are people who are made to disappear for exercising their rights and for opposing against human rights violations. It is done mostly in the context of widespread and systematic way under a climate of impunity where the perpetrators are free to do what they want without accountability. Asia is now considered the graveyard of the desaparecidos for having submitted the most number of cases to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in recent years.

The disappearance of every person brings terrible sorrows and sufferings to his or her family. The long and agonizing search for the victims’ whereabouts usually ends in fruitless undertaking. The normal life that their families used to have is now shattered by emotional and psychological devastation, economic dislocation, uncertainty… Their lives are even at risk for having to undergo the same fate that their loved ones succumbed for seeking truth, justice, redress and reparation.

But the families of the disappeared refuse to give in to fear. They know that their disappeared loved ones’ only hope to return alive and to find truth and justice is for them to be strong and united. Their faith is as clear as the light at the end of the tunnel and as bright as the rainbow after every rain.

The adoption of International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced or Disappearance by the United Nations General Assembly on the 20th of December 2006 sparked a ray of hope for the families of the disappeared. To date, however, only four countries in Asia have affixed their signatures to the Convention. Asia, being the continent which submitted a huge number of cases to the United Nations needs the ratification by its governments of this new treaty and to pass domestic laws criminalizing enforced disappearance.

The International Week of the Disappeared is an expression of solidarity of all families of desaparecidos of the world. It is a celebration of life to honor the historical memory of those who have given their lives for the ransom of many. It is a renewal of commitment of the families of the disappeared and all human rights advocates to keep on the struggle against enforced disappearances and impunity until the dawning of the day when there are no more desaparecidos.

On this occasion, families of the disappeared call for an end to their untold sufferings brought about by this anti-life instrument used to silence their beloved desaparecidos. Despite their physical absence, the desaparecidos refuse to be silenced. For indeed, the perpetrators have miserably failed to silence them by physically eliminating their victims. As we commemorate the International Week of the Disappeared, we reiterate that the desaparecidos remain ever present in our minds and hearts.

Enforced disappearance is anti-life…
No to untold sufferings…
Ratify the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance!


MUGIYANTO                                                                          MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Chairperson                                                                                    Secretary-General

[Statement] IKULONG at PARUSAHAN ang mga MANDARAMBONG sa NFA! – Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

File photo source: allvoices.com

File photo source: allvoices.com

WAKASAN ang Pagpapahirap sa Masa’t Magsasaka!

Nitong mga nakaraang araw ay ginimbal tayo ng balitang mahigit sa P100 B ang nanakaw sa kaban ng bayan dahil sa problema ng korupsyon at pandarambong sa loob ng National Food Authority (NFA) sa nakalipas na 10-taon. Kagimbal-gimbal at kakundi-kundena ang ganitong paglalantad. Habang pinagkakaitan ng sapat na suporta ang mahigit na limang milyong magsasaka sa palayan ay lumalangoy naman sa bilyung-bilyong piso ang mga tiwaling opisyal NFA at nagpipiyesta ang mga kasangkot nitong mga negosyante’t kartel sa industriya ng bigas sa bansa.

Hindi bago ito sa mata ng mga magsasaka sa palayan. Pinatunayan lamang ng pagbubunyag ang matagal nang sinasabi ng mga magsasaka hinggil sa importasyon ng bigas at transaksyon ng mga pribadong  sektor sa NFA. Hindi ang taumbayan at mga magsasaka ang tunay na nakikinabang sa mga programa kundi ang mga tiwaling opisyal ng ahensya at mga kakutsaba nitong malalaking negosyante sa bigas at palayan.


Mistulang operasyon ng BURIKI GANG ang nalantad na katiwalian at anomalya sa NFA. Ang kutsabahan ng mga tiwaling opisyal at mga kasosyo nitong kartel sa bigas ay operasyon ng isang gangster na sistematikong pinagpipyestahan ang kahirapan at kakulangan ng ating bansa.

Isang dekadang binuburiki ng mga bwitreng ito ang pondong laan para sa importasyon at operasyon ng NFA. P 100.92B piso ang kinulimbat ng BURIKI GANG sa pondo ng bayan.  Ang nasabing pagpapasobra  sa inaangkat na bigas ng bansa at diumano’y milyun-milyong kilong pagkawala ng bigas sa mga imbakan bunga kuno ng landing spillage pati na ang pagsasauli sa milyon pisong bond sa mga pribadong sektor ay larawan ng sistematikong pandarambong ng BURIKI GANG sa loob ng NFA.

Kaya’t hindi kataka-kataka ang kabiguang makamit ang inaasam-asam na kasapatan sa pangunahing pagkain sa bansa. Dahil sa halip na tumagas ang pondo sa lokal na produksyon at mga magsasaka ay sa bulsa ng mga tiwali at iilang mayayaman ito pumupunta.
Hindi lamang PANDARAMBONG kundi TREASON ding matatawag ang operasyong ito ng BURIKI GANG. Sinabotahe nito ang ekonomiya para sa interes ng pagkakamal ng limpak-limpak na maibubulsa sa kaban ng bayan. Sinamantala at lalong pinalala ang kakulangan natin sa pangunahing pagkain at kahirapan ng mamamayan upang maibulsa ang pondo ng gobyerno at makapagbenta ng mahal na presyo ng bigas sa ating bansa. Sa ganitong kasalanan, hindi sapat na patalsikin lamang  ang mga responsable sa anomalya bagkus dapat silang ARESTUHIN at BITAYIN sa kanilang KRIMEN sa taumbayan.

LIBERALISASYON at  PRIBATISASYON ng BIGASAN: Ugat ng Kawalan ng Kasapatan sa Bigas

Ang Palpak at anti-magsasakang programa ng liberalisasyon at pribatisasyon ng bigasan at NFA ang tunay na ugat sa patuloy na kakulangan ng bansa sa ating pangunahing pagkain.

Ang pagsandig sa importasyon o pag-aangkat ng imported na bigas upang punan ang ating kakulangan ay bunga ng pagpapatupad ng liberalisasyon sa agrikultura at industriya ng bigasan sa bansa. Mahigit na P 10 Bilyong piso kada taon ang ginagastos sa pag-aangkat. Habang kalahati lamang nito ang inilaan para sa lokal na pagbili sa ating magsasaka. Kapos na nga sa pondo inilalaan pa sa mga dayuhan sa halip na sa ating lokal na industriya.

Sa liberalisayon, taun-taong pwesahan tayong pinag-aangkat ng tone-toneladang bigas sa ilalim ng MINIMUM ACCESS VOLUME (MAV). May kakulangan man o wala obligado tayong kunin ang nasabing kota sa ngalan ng pagtangkilik sa malayang kumpetisyon at pamilihan. Kaya’t sa halip na kontrolin at proteksyunan ang lokal na industriya ay ibinuyayang at tinalikuran ito ng ating gobyerno at inoobliga ang sariling tangkilikin ang imported na bigas at ilagay sa kamay ng pribadong sektor ang  kinabukasan ng ating pangunahing pagkain. Ito ang ugat ng ating kawalan ng sapat na pagkain sa bansa.

Ang kasalukuyang direksyon ng pagrereporma sa NFA ay pribatisasyon ng ahensya upang lubusin ang liberalisasyon ng industriya ng bigasan sa bansa. Ang DECOUPLING o paghihiwalay ng mga tungkulin at papel ng NFA at pagdidiin na lamang sa pag-iimbak o buffer stocking ay nasa direksyon ng paglalagay sa kinabukasan ng mamamayan at ng bigas sa bansa sa kamay ng malalaking pribadong negosyante at korporasyon.

Ito’y pagtalikod ng gobyerno sa obligasyon nitong tiyakin ang karaparatan sa pagkain ng bansa at pagbitaw nito sa tungkuling proteksyunan ang maliliit magsasaka at mahihirap na mamamayan laban sa mapagsamantalang interes ng kapital at tubo sa bansa.

Sa liberalisasyon at pribatisasyon walang tanging nakikinabang kundi mga negosyante’t kapitalista at mga kakutsaba nitong tiwaling opisyal ng gobyerno habang ang mamamayan at maliliit na magsasaka ay patuloy na malulugmok sa kumunoy ng kahirapan at pagsasamantala. Ang inilantad  sa NFA ay malinaw na patotoo na walang katotohanan na mas magiging maayos at mura ang pagkain sa kamay ng pribadong sektor at mga negosyante.

Ang tunay na solusyon sa ating agrikultura ay nasa pagpapalakas ng suporta’t subsidyo sa ating mga mahihirap na magsasaka, pagwasak sa monopolyo sa pagmamay-ari ng lupa at modernisasyon ng agrikultura at hindi liberalisasyon at pribatisasyon.

Hamon kay Pnoy

Kung tunay at seryoso si Pnoy sa landas nang makabuluhang pagbabago agrikultura at ekonomiya dapat nitong ibasura ang  landas ng ibayong liberalisasyon ng ekonomiya at pribatisasyon ng mga ahensya’t serbisyo ng gobyerno tulad ng NFA. Sapat na ang mahigit  tatlong dekadang mapanirang epekto nito sa ekonomiya at kabuhayan ng mamamayan.

At sa halip, isulong nito ang industriyalisasyon at modernisasyon ng agrikultura. Ibayong palakasin ang suporta’t proteksyon ng gobyerno sa mahihirap. At huli, ipatupad nito ang demokratikong pagsasakapangyarihan at partisipasyon ng mamamayan sa pamamahala’t pagpapatakbo ng gobyerno kung nais nitong tunay na masawata ang lumalalang korapsyon at katiwalian sa pamahalaan.


Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA) at Makabayan Pilipinas
May 19, 2011

[Statement] BANGLADESH/PHILIPPINES: Why Filipinos must protest the attack on FMA Razzak? – AHRC

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

BANGLADESH/PHILIPPINES: Why Filipinos must protest the attack on FMA Razzak?

Bangladeshi national F M A Razzak is the President of Human Rights Development Centre (HRDC) and Editor of the Pakkhik Gonomichhil in Paikgachha of Khulna district, Bangladesh. On April 29, 2011, Razzak and his younger brother, Mr. Bodiuzzaman Bodiar; brother-in-law, Mr. Bakkar, were attacked after having been kidnapped by the relatives of an army major, Mustafizur Rahman Bokul, upon the latter’s order.

After they were kidnapped and in custody of the Mustafizur Rahman’s relatives, the three were beaten severely. They gouged Razzak’s eye socket with screw drivers. They deliberately delay, with the tolerance of the local police, to have Razzak and the two other victims taken to hospital to be treated. Even when they were inside the hospital they were not given the immediate medical attention they needed. Had it not been due to pressure and publicity on their case, they would have probably been left to die.

What had happened to Razzak and his brothers is no different to the life of ordinary Filipinos in the country. The use of power and authority, in this case, being part of the security forces and by relatives of the security is a common practice of abuse in Filipino society. To be part of the security forces and to have a relation with anyone from the security forces–the police and the military–is in fact considered a form of protection for their family and for their interest.

Those in the police and the military, even before they have become full pledge security forces, have been mentally conditioned to restore and protect, not of the law and order, as we normally understood the police should be doing; and to protect the country from internal and external security threats, as what soldiers should also be doing. These only exist in the book and recited during taking of their oath respectively. But their existence is anyhow given legitimacy, not only on paper, but of publicity assuring the public they do uphold rule of law.

The attack on Razzak and his two brothers is not only about the attack against Bangladeshis and the nationals in their country. They, like the Filipinos who are forced to endure routine and systematic forms of attack, from intimidation and abuses by the security forces, all of them are victims of their own security forces. The security forces could justify their unthinkable acts of cruelty by abusing their position for being ‘persons in authority’.

At the height of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, which were also perpetrated by security forces, numerous persons and groups outside the country, had spoken openly against the barbarity and state of lawlessness in the country. The Philippine government took the issue of systematic extrajudicial killing of human rights and political activists seriously only after more and more people and groups outside the country spoke against it, including Bangladeshis and organisations who supported the campaign. They had contribution in putting pressure for the government to take action.

While the Filipino people would have to continue with its effort to draw attention to the continuing human rights abuses–extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance and torture–in their own country; however, to speak against the abuse and cruelty on other nationals in another countries, no matter how foreign a person and the country maybe, strengthens and unifies the people’s aspiration of their fight against any abuses perpetrated by their own security forces. It does not matter what one could afford to do, how little they may seem, but by not letting this pass unnoticed, to condemn and to express anger against this act of cruelty, would remind us of being human beings and of our humanity.

Like the Filipinos, Bangladesh had also become a country to escape from by their own citizens. If one does not have political connections, one would have no opportunity to find a job to feed their family, a person’s status in their society is also determined by wealth, prestige, social and political connections. The police officers are seen as lawbreakers not as law enforcers. The people in the army, like those attached to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a military unit, had numerous records of murdering persons justifies outright murders on pretext of ‘crossfire (like the legitimate encounter in the Philippines)’.

In reality, in the Philippine society, like in Bangladesh, no matter what unit of security forces are attached to–the police and the military–they have also obtained a de facto licence to murder, forcibly disappear and torture persons. The manner as to how they do it perhaps may not be as open and obvious as what perpetrators of Razzak had done, by listening to the loudspeaker of his phone as he performs the military major order how to gouge Razzak’s eye socket, to kill him and the location where to dump his dead body.

But nevertheless the extent of secrecy on part of the Filipino security forces, their ability to kill, abduct and torture their victims, without leaving any trace and evidence; of doing it away from public eye, is even more frightening. In doing so, no one could know it happens and no one could know the extent of its cruelty.

# # #

May 6, 2011

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Visit our new website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

[Statement] Honoring Marcos: A Distortion of History – AFAD

File photo by afterlives.blogspot.com

The House Resolution No. 1135, reviving the desperate move to bury the late-dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is betraying the Filipino people with its distortion of history and is insulting our very dignity as a nation.

The resolution which has already been signed by more than 200 members of the House of Representatives manifests a shameful ignorance of our nation’s history.  It tramples on the collective dignity of the Filipino people especially of those who valiantly struggled during the dark days of Martial Law, some of whom suffered persecution and consequently lost their lives. The late Senator Benigno Aquino was among them.

It is quite an irony to give Marcos a “hero’s burial” while granting the victims of human rights violations symbolic compensation from his ill-gotten wealth. The dictator Marcos, accused of committing widespread human rights abuses and looting billions of dollars from state coffers during his 20-year dictatorship, was judged guilty of human rights violations by US Federal Courts.

We protest the treacherous act of these 200 lawmakers in resolving to allow Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Burial) in the guise of magnanimous reconciliation.  It is a betrayal of history and a deprivation of the future generation of their right to know the truth.  Marcos, who died unrepentant of his wrongful deeds while his heirs and scions continue to stay in power with total impunity and ironically maintain grandiose display of luxuries, never deserves forgiveness.

How can we forgive when thousands of victims of human rights violations during his more than two-decade rule continue to endure the pain and sufferings and are still seeking for justice?

How can we forget when the country is still burdened with illegitimate debt due to his plundering?

Giving Marcos the honor and forgiveness will only coagulate the existing climate of impunity that allows perpetrators to escape responsibility for their crimes.

The 200 senators who signed the said resolution have no right to exonerate Marcos for the sins he committed against the Filipino people.  Perpetrators of human rights violations like him should have asked for forgiveness and do the necessary reparation and redress in order to re-dignify the victims.  Without justice, genuine reconciliation is never possible.

We, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances cannot allow the memory of those who disappeared, tortured and killed during Martial law to be obliterated from history by honoring the very dictator who ordered these human rights violations to be committed in the name of national security.

We will never cease in our struggle against forgetting.  We will never let our nation succumb to oblivion.

We are therefore calling on the lawmakers who signed the said House resolution to withdraw their signatures and warning them never to distort our history.

We also call on Pres. Benigno Aquino III to be true to his words during his inaugural speech when he said that reconciliation can only happen when justice is first rendered. He owes it to his parents, he owes it to the Filipino people.

The road to genuine reconciliation is not an obliteration of our dark past.   It should take into consideration the revelation of the truth that guarantees accountability. To heal the wounds of the nation is to accept the responsibility of what happened and ensure that such atrocities will never happen again!

Signed and authenticated by:

MUGIYANTO                                              MARY AILEEN BACALSO
Chairperson                                                   Secretary-General

[Statement] Statement of support to PALEA – Church Labor Conference


File photo source: article.wn.com

Government has the responsibility to pass laws to protect the rights of workers.
The public administration (government) must provide for the welfare and the comfort of working classes.
Among the many and grave duties of rulers who would do their best for the people, the first and chief,
is to act  with strict justice – towards each and every class alike.  Justice, therefore, demands that the interest of the working classes should be carefully watched over by the administration, so that workers, who contribute so largely to the advantage of the community, may themselves share in the benefits which they create – that being housed, clothed, and bodily fit, they may find their life less hard and more endurable.

Rerum Novarum, #27 (1891)

We, members of Church-Labor Conference or CLC, declare our full support to the struggle of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) against the mass retrenchment, contractualization, and their plan to launch their strike to protect their job security.

PAL ground crews face twin blows from PAL management and Malacañang. The PAL management earlier planned to outsource its three major departments that would result in massive retrenchment and contractualization of more than 2,600 regular employees.  On Saturday, 26 March 2011, Malacanang, through Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. favored the outsourcing and retrenchment backing the earlier decision of the Department of Labor and Employment, with the increased separation pay from P50,000.00 to P100,000 per affected worker

The impact of Malacanang’s decision is detrimental to the entire labor force for this will legitimize the outsourcing or contractualization of jobs necessary and desirable to the operations of any business.  It becomes an unscrupulous precedence for any management or company to arbitrarily outsource their workforce.  With this trend, favored by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Office of the President, the workers’ human and labor rights to security and tenure and to self-organization, instituted in the Philippine Constitution and Labor Code, are vehemently violated.  Worse, the act of increasing the separation pay is tantamount to buying off the rights of the workers.  TO HAVE A DECENT LIFE, what the workers need is Job Security.

PAL workers have long sacrificed their right for a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  When the management declared losses in 1998, they adhered to a suspended in a goodwill to understand the plight of the company.  However in PAL’s own financial documents, the flag carrier’s April to December 2011 profit was $74.9 million and the union expects $1.6 billion profit for the fiscal year ending in March 2011. Therefore, PAL is now gaining profits and there is no basis for the planned outsourcing and retrenchment.  PAL management refused to bargain with PALEA members but would only do so after the retrenchment takes place which means another clear violation of workers’ right to collectively bargain.

Malacañang favored the Philippine’s 2nd richest man and set aside the rights of more than 2,600 workers.  These workers, together with their families and support groups, placed high hopes in voting for a new President.  The new President branded these people as “Kayo ang Boss ko” in his inaugural speech. “Ang Daang Matuwid means job security…a real job means stable jobs for all Filipinos.”   If the government is sincere in its promises to the people, it has to have a sound job employment program and policy for the Filipinos promoting decent and sustainable jobs instead of promoting contractualization.  The Government should GIVE PRIORITY TO LABOR OVER CAPITAL.

PALEA is now pushed to the wall and forced to launch their strike. This is their last resort in order to protect and preserve their job security and to echo to the new generation that they are not only fighting for their rights and dignity but for the rights and dignity of the younger generation.

We in the Church Labor Conference also support this planned strike.  We will take necessary actions in unison with PALEA until the planned outsourcing of three “non-core” departments of PAL that will result to retrenchment of more than 2,600 regular employees be declared illegal and inhuman.

We call the attention of President Benigno Aquino, Jr. to review and reverse his decision and prove that his government is pro-poor, pro-people and sincere in its battle cry for Daang Matuwid. Give the favor to the working people and stop contractualization!

We also call the attention of our fellow workers, the young workers, fellow labor rights’ advocates and churchpeople to spread the message of support to struggling workers of Philippine Airlines.  PALEA’s struggle for job security is our struggle against contractualization.

We call the attention of our fellow Filipinos to stand hand in hand with us in fighting CONTRACTUALIZATION.
Solidarity among workers and with workers to protect and promote their fundamental rights and discharge their responsibilities properly is necessary.  Likewise necessary is just legislation to ensure the entire range of workers’ rights.  Without such assistance, a just development in the world of work will not take place.

Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Acts and Decrees #320


Church Labor Conference is an alliance of various labor groups and
Catholic Church people. This alliance promotes labor protection and the
well-being of the working people.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, D.D. is the Chairman of CLC.