Monday ∗ 15 Dec 2014

The human rights report card

Matuwid na daan—the righteous path—has always been more than a campaign slogan for this government. It is the frame for the image(s) of nation that it seeks to sell to the world. It is the ideological backbone of its belief in itself and all the good that it does.

But of course at some point it will seem almost delusional, because there is real life and real people and real injustice that will prove matuwid na daan wrong. This is especially true if what we are looking at are issues related to human rights, and I don’t just speak of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, not just Hacienda Luisita and the military deployment in Mindanao. Though of course we can but start with these.

Activists, journalists, teachers, peasants
From July 2010 to November 2014, human rights organization Karapatan counts: 226 extrajudicial killings, 26 victims of enforced disappearances, 104 victims of torture.

Three hundred Mindanao activists traveled to Manila in late November, seeking dialogues with government agencies. The state of Mindanao, according to them: 55 military battalions deployed, 500 false charges filed against activists, 166 schools attacked under Oplan Bayanihan.

Early in the year, the international organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) declared that the Philippines ranked 3rd in its Global Impunity Index. From 2004 to 2013, they counted: 50 journalist murders.

Public school teachers continue to call for a long-delayed wage increase, where the P18,549-peso salary can only be insufficient given the rising cost of living and teacher expenses for classroom supplies and teaching aids.

In Hacienda Luisita, peasant families have continued to suffer in the hands of their Cojuangco landlords, pushed out of land they’ve tilled and cared for, violently displaced and forcibly evicted from their homes, and scared into subservience by private security and armed hooligans. “Luisita is the face of every known form of human rights violation in the country,” states the Luisita Watch statement dated December 10.

The Mining Act continues to endanger our indigenous peoples, putting their food sources at risk, their sources of livelihood in the hands of mining “developers,” their ancestral land beyond their grasp and control.

The rest on labor and disasters, and the government’s responses, is up at The Manila Times

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