All posts filed under: Human Rights

On the current martial law in Mindanao

When I was in 7th grade studying in a very conservative Catholic school, I clearly remember one of my teachers telling our class, “Martial Law is good, it disciplines people. I would love to have Martial Law again to instil discipline in Filipinos.” I remember getting home that day and telling my parents the same. I remember getting a scolding from my parents who gave me a lecture on why Martial Law, especially because they were there to fight against the dictatorship of Marcos. But I was lucky, because not everyone would have people to correct these wrong views. Not everyone would have parents who are socially aware, when teachers fail to teach history lessons, or vice versa. Why am I saying this? Because in this whole discourse about the current imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao, the president himself said that he would be like Marcos. A statement, which, without any creative interpretation, means exactly what it is — an abuse of power. But what is scary, what is concerning, is the fact that …

To forget is not to heal

Written by Jovic Yee, published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (I was interviewed by the writer on the meaning of martial law for millennials) (Last of two parts) Despite the dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ grave human rights violations and plunder of the government coffers, some Filipinos who lived under his administration pine for the days when he ruled the Philippines with an iron fist. Experts attribute this phenomenon to a false sense of security and prosperity that the dictatorship’s propaganda machine churned out at the time, or to frustration over the government’s failure to foster a more equitable society three decades after the fall of Marcos. For millennial Renee Karunungan, one of the 10 outstanding Filipino students in 2011, any accommodation to the Marcos family “will take away a part of our history that needs to be remembered.” “It will invalidate the suffering and pain many Filipinos went through for freedom. And in the longer term, we are bound to repeat our history …. To forget is not to heal. To forget is to allow the …

Millennials are ‘victims,’ too

article is written by Jovic Yee, originally published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (I was interviewed by the writer on the meaning of martial law for millennials) (First of two parts) DON’T blame the millennials for people’s seeming indifference when it comes to the atrocities committed during martial law, a historian, a political analyst and two millennials cautioned on what appears to be historical amnesia that almost got another Marcos elected into high office in the May elections. Millennials—people born from the 1980s onward—are “victims” themselves of the systemic failure of society to impart the lessons of one of the country’s darkest eras, said historian Ricardo Jose, director of the University of the Philippines’ Third World Studies Center. The roots of this seeming apathy and lapsed memory on martial law can, in fact, be traced to 1986, shortly after the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family were booted out of Malacañang, when then President Corazon Aquino opted to stress unity over keeping score, Jose said. In an effort to rebuild the republic torn apart by …

Sorrowful Mysteries

*artwork by JB Casacop “Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13) “Kill them all.” (Duterte 5.5.2015) “Thou shalt not kill.” (Deuteronomy 5:17) “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself.” (Duterte 7.1.2016 ) 56. 128. We count them now, bodies, like leaves that fall silently at night. 265. 331.   We find them in the morning, strewn on the road, gun shot wounds, a pool of blood, hands tied, a sign that says, “Pusher ako. Huwag tularan.” 465. 564. We can only imagine: a scream that did not leave the throat, a run that culminated in a single step. 603. 730. We clean them up. We wait for another day. In the name of peace and order! In the name of a safe, crime-free, drug-free, developed Philippines! In the name of the president, the almighty savior! Amen! They revere him like they revere the saints and the Poon. His motorcade went through the streets of Manila. They waited like it was the second coming. They scrambled to get close, to touch him, tried …

Opinion: Climate Change and Violence

On April 1, the Philippines was shocked by violence in Kidapawan City, the capital of Cotabato Province, where police opened fire on farmers protesting and asking for rice, killing three and injuring 116. Eighty-seven were listed as missing in the incident, which erupted over frustrated farmers experiencing an intense drought brought on by the El Nino climate phenomenon who felt the government was doing nothing for them.  The Philippines is an island nation frequently battered y weather, often typhoons. Now it is drought. The government could hardly have been surprised by the incident. As early as January, the City Risk Reduction and Management Council proposed placing Kidapawan under state of calamity, which was approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the local city legislative branch, in February. This authorized the use of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund amounting to PHP4 million (US$86,500). But damage to crops has already amounted to PHP30 million. According to the City Social Welfare and Development Office, this translates to 11,000 families or 25 percent of the city’s population. Damage …

This is how they silence a woman

This is how they silence a woman: first they tell you to shut up — because you are a woman and have nothing important to say. And if that doesn’t work, they call you names like pokpok (whore) and bitch, or call you out for the size of your breasts or the imperfections of your face — because you are nothing but your body. They call you stupid, to remind you of your inferiority. And if still you relent, they threaten you with rape and then tell you it’s your fault, for speaking up, for causing drama, for seeking attention. A brief background about me: I am an opinionated woman. I usually express my thoughts through writing. I have also been working in the development sector and thus, hold some things of high value — human rights, climate justice, freedom of expression, gender rights to name a few. Because of these deeply held views, I have outspokenly campaigned against Rodrigo Duterte and the way he wants to govern the country; how he blatantly says he …

Why climate change is a matter of human rights

One year after Haiyan, Teresita, with no money but with a handful of prayers, dared to travel from Samar to Manila in search of a job. Her house is a few kilometers away from San Juanico bridge, the bridge connecting Samar and Leyte, where Haiyan made landfall. Her house, along with her family’s small coconut plantation, was wiped away when the water drowned the city. In Olkaria, Naivasha, Kenya, the Maasai indigenous people have been evicted to make way for a geothermal power plant, a clean energy project. Similarly, in western Kenya, forest-dependent Sengwer indigenous peoples have been accused of deforestation and wer also evicted from the Embobut Forest. Ties between land and womb “Whenua”, the Maori word for land, also means placenta. There is a tradition in Tuvalu where women who give birth bury the whenua and the “pito (umbilical cord) of the baby and plant a tree on top, signifying the close relationship between the child and the land of their birth. This is why the people of Tuvalu, unlike their neighbors in …