BAGUIO CITY—During the 75th commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, advocates and various formations from Baguio and Benguet voiced-out their plea to defend human rights in accordance with dignity, justice, and democracy.
Protesters called for junking terror law, defending Cordillera, resisting tyranny, environment and education rights, and among others which were given attention for its official international celebration program in Baguio City held at Igorot Park. Different activities were also conducted at Session Road including busking, chalk arts, exhibits, and a photo walk, took place from 1 pm to 4 pm to honor human rights.
Through the official program, they called the Anti-Terrorist Council for accusing some activists as terrorists and sought the government for its accountability, truth, and change.
Meanwhile, a human rights lawyer acknowledged the participants as defenders of freedom and dignity. He also mentioned the challenges of lawyering in the midst of growing injustices in the society as he shared his view on Anti-Terrorism Act as a law against the people. For him, this creates apparent vulnerabilities resulting in an unsafe environment affecting 1.8 million Filipinos. Following his plea, he urges people to fight and stand for human rights.
Furthermore, Movement to Advance Truth, Change, and Human Dignity (MATCH) member Ronald Taggaoa encouraged people to take action and not be afraid of giving opinions to some government policies. He also emphasized that activism is not a terrorist action. “Hindi nakakahiya na ipalandakan ng tao na may karapatan,” Taggaoa said in an interview. He then added that red-tagging brings worries on security, limitation in actions, and as a license for assassinations saying “Nakakalungkot na 21st century na tayo pero hindi pa rin kinilala ang karapatan ng ilang indibidwal.”
The event then highlighted their gratitude for the successful lobbying of a resolution for Baguio as an “Inclusive Human Rights City.”
Performances for human rights were presented by local artists of the city including a song entitled “Pasismo” dedicated to the victims of killings during the past administration. Also, “Walang Pagbabago” was performed to motivate people to fight for their rights.
Other groups participated that led the initiative were the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Cordillera ,Youth Act Now Against Tyranny (YANAT), Baguio-Benguet, Tungtongan ti Umili (TTU), and Women Working for Justice and Peace Network Cordillera (Women JAPNET).
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, which acknowledges human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. By Adrian Mas