About 1,300 rallyists marched from the Capitol Lagoon to the Bacolod Public Plaza to mark the 65 th founding anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights yesterday with a protest.
Victims of human rights violation, meanwhile, are calling on the Aquino administration to convene the Board of Claims now, saying it is only then that the quest for justice of martial law victims will be served and their sufferings put to an end.
The protestors carried placards and banners that read “end impunity,” “free political detainees,” “stop union busting,” during the rally spearheaded by Karapatan-Negros together with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros, Promotion of Church and People's Response, and other progressive organizations under Bayan like the Gabriela-Negros, National Federation of Sugar Workers, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kadamay, among others.
Clarizza Dagatan, Gabriela-Negros chairman and Karapatan-Negros regional coordinator, said they are celebrating with a protest because of the deteriorating situation of human rights violations, not only of civil and political rights, but also socio-economic rights of the people.
Dagatan said the government failed to solve the poverty and hunger suffered by the people and their answer is intensified military operations in the countryside.
Since President Benigno Aquino lll took over, there had been 152 victims of extra judicial killings in the country and the continuous filing of trumped up charges, she claimed.
She also said the political prisoners in the country are now 449 and 28 of them are in Negros. Of these, three are female and include Sarah Alvarez, the campaign officer of Karapatan.
Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. said that while protestors accuse the police and military of human rights violations, those committed by the New People's Army, which are more, are not attacked.
This is one-sided, he said of the opposition against human rights violations.
KMU spokesperson Ronald Ian Evidente said they believe that the top human rights violation against workers is the curtailment of their freedom of association and meager wages.
Evidente also said that many employers fail to remit the Social Security System contribution of their workers, particularly the farm workers. These employers should be charged with estafa. But until now there is zero conviction, he said.
He also said he consider s the P10 wage increase an “insult” especially to the workers who are bringing in millions of income to their companies. They are pushing for a substantial wage increase for the workers, he also said.
Meanwhile, Claims and Processing Office chairman Edgar Cadagat said in Negros, more than 500 victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law period still await justice.
Notwithstanding the passage of R.A. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, justice for these victims remain elusive. Ten months after its passage, yet there is no end in sight that they will get the justice that they deserve, he said.
Cadagat, with Liberata Limaco, Mothers and Relatives Against Tyranny and Repression-Negros (MARTYR-Negros) chairperson, who are human rights victims, are calling on the Aquino administration to convene the Board of Claims..*CGS