Editorial: Act for Human Rights, Truth and Justice. Wage Peace!
Volume 21 Number 4
Friday, 15 January 2010 10:31
by Sr. Crescencia L. Lucero, SFIC
TFDP Executive Director

The defense and promotion of human rights is essential for building up of a peaceful society. (Compendium of the Social Doctrines of the Church # 494)

This government is under siege by its own moral bankruptcy. From its questionable mandate to the latest bribery scandals, to its continuing human rights violations and now the Manila Pen siege, this government continues to unravel.

These acts and events are symptomatic of the malaise that afflict government and society – a president who is alleged to have stolen the mandate to govern, a government perceived as corrupt and inept, a government that condones or even abets human rights violations, and a people tired of the political maneuverings. In the midst of this malaise there is a growing clamor for reform and change, for a renewal of politics and society. A politics of service to the common good and a society where truth reigns, justice is served and peace blooms.

While the Manila Pen caper can not be condoned, the conditions that impelled the Magdalo and some civil society leaders to converge remain valid – reform and change. In the midst of the scandals that wrack the Arroyo government, its brazen disregard for the rule of law, its abetment of a culture of impunity and its repression of peoples human rights the effort at regime change is bound to continue.

What this latest adventure teaches us is that any attempt at regime change without the peoples support is bound to fail. While discontentment remains high, people are focused on daily survival and they have yet to realize the imperative of direct action similar to EDSA I and EDSA II.

The 59th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) finds no meaning to a people groaning from poverty, to a people robbed of their sacred right to choose their leader, to a people forced to send their loved ones to work abroad, to a people assaulted and dehumanized by rights violations.

To date, extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances continue to blot the Philippine landscape. Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) has documented 121 cases of extrajudicial executions and Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) has documented 156 cases of enforced disappearances under the Arroyo government.

Millions of our fellow Filipinos who toil abroad remain the saviors of our economy for they pump in the much- needed dollars to keep us afloat.

The anniversary of UDHR is empty for a people whose lives are endangered by a culture of impunity and the denial of justice for the victims of human rights violations.

The saving grace of this nation’s institutions and of the rule of law is the Supreme Court. It has taken upon itself to defend human rights through a summit on extrajudicial killings and the promulgation of the writ of amparo which gives hope to human rights violations victims. International pressure has also forced government to rein in the death squads even as it continues to deny knowledge much more responsibility for the killings. The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions has concluded in his report “the military is in a state of denial” with regards to rights violations.

We are a people continuing to search for a place of refuge, for an inn to rest our battered souls. We are a people continuing to hope and pray that salvation shall come and a land flowing with milk and honey, a society where human rights and human dignity are protected and fulfilled shall be built and bloom. We are a people in need of reform and renewal, of restitution and restoration, of truth and justice.

In this quest for truth and justice, we as a people must stake our lives. Our future depends on the actions we take and the path we choose. But act we must and choose we must. We must act on behalf of human rights and justice. We must choose the path of peace. There can be no other honorable way.

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Last Updated on Friday, 15 January 2010 11:29

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