MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of the start of classes in June, human rights group Hustisya launched a donation drive for children from poor and marginalized communities, including those whose parents are desaparecidos, political prisoners, and activists who are victims of extrajudicial killings.
“We just wanted to help make sure that the children will have what they need for school, and lessen the burden of parents who are coping with being a widow or a solo parent and have to raise their children singlehandedly,” Cristina Guevarra of Hustisya said.
“The drive also became an opportunity for us to introduce who are the victims of rights violations, the ones left behind by parents who were killed, disappeared, or put to jail,” Guevarra added.
From jail to school
In 2019, Hustisya is also partnering with community-based urban poor organizations in Sampaloc, Manila, to provide school supplies for at least 200 children. (READ: ‘Rights-based’ education needed to protect children in schools)
Among the hundreds of beneficiaries this year is 4-year-old Payter (not his real name), an incoming kindergarten pupil.
Payter was born while his mother was in detention due to trumped-up charges. He stayed with his mother, but was later brought home by his grandfather.
If time and resources permit, his grandfather would take him to jail to visit his mother, who is still awaiting the promulgation of her case.
It was because of children like Payter that Hustisya started a donation drive in 2013 to not only provide them with supplies but also let people know of their plight. (READ: Defending human rights under Duterte)
According to Guevarra, by letting people hear the calls for justice from the victims firsthand, their stories will be seen “beyond figures and unknown names.” (READ: The Impunity Series)
Now on its 6th year, the initiative continues because of the overwhelming support from friends who have been also become friends with the victims and their relatives, according to Guevarra.
How to donate
Through the drive, Hustisya hopes to gather in-kind and cash donations for the school supplies.
For cash donations, the group aims to raise funds for at least 300 sets of school supplies worth P500 each. The set will consist of the following items:
- 10 notebooks
- 5 ballpens/pencils
- Eraser and sharpener
- Pad papers
Cash donations can be deposited in the following bank account:
Bank of the Philippine Islands
Pagkakaisa ng mga Biktima para sa Hustisya Inc.
Philippine Peso Account No. 4253 4393 14
US Dollar Account No. 4254 0241 93
Banco de Oro
Philippine Peso Account No. 004 070 186 312
Landbank of the Philippines
Lorraine G. Villaflor
Philippine Peso Account No. 2886 2290 30
For in-kind donations, the group encourages donors to drop by the Hustisya national office at Erythrina Building, 1 Maaralin, Barangay Central, Quezon City.
Donors may contact Cristina Guevarra at 09061880128 or Dj Acierto at 09176224761 for further details.
In a September 2018 report, the United Nations included Philippines in the list of 38 countries whose human rights defenders and activists are suffering from “an alarming and shameful level of harsh reprisals and intimidation” from their own governments.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs was launched, human rights groups estimate over 20,000 deaths – a tally which included vigilante-style killings. (READ: Duterte gov’t tally: ‘Drug war’ deaths breach 5,000-mark before 2019) – Rappler.com