CHR urges Filipinos: Be 'light bearers' in 'period of darkness'
MANILA, Philippines – On the 30th anniversary of the Commission on Human Rights, Chairperson Chito Gascon urged Filipinos to be "light bearers" in a "period of darkness."
"It is in this period of darkness that we shall all be tested as we continue to pursue human rights. Our call to us all is we must be light bearers shining torches on the suffering and inhumanity that is surrounding us today," Gascon said on Thursday, May 4.
He stressed the importance of fighting to uphold human rights which are once more "under assault."
“We cannot rest upon our achievements especially because of the continuing challenges that we face. We are not going to end our work rather we must double up our work for human rights as we face those challenges and all that remain to be done." Gascon said.
Formally established on May 5, 1987, a year after the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship, the CHR is an independent body that ensures the protection of human rights as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. (READ: Hate human rights? They protect freedoms you enjoy)
Aside from conducting investigations, it also provides assistance and legal measures for the protection of human rights guided by Section 18 Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution.
Never give up
The CHR has been under constant attack by administration allies since it voiced out its concern over the extrajudicial killings in the Duterte administration's war on drugs. (READ: CHR in 2016: 'We are not enemies of the fight against drugs’)
Its task force on extrajudicial killings is currently investigating more than 400 cases. It is expected to come up with a report soon.
In the face of criticisms, Gascon urged human rights defenders to never give up and to continue to "inspire hope" by working harder.
"We, as a community of human rights, must work harder, be more creative, and develop strategies that we might stay the course, overcome the darkness, and reach a new dawn for freedom, human rights, democracy, and justice," the CHR chiefsaid.
"Each one of us separately might not be able to do everything that is needed to be done but perhaps if we work together, if we come together, if we support each other's initiatives, to provide feedback as to how we can work better, then perhaps amidst the darkness, we can shed light and we can inspire hope. And that is what we will be doing tonight," he added. – Rappler.com