Human rights activist Brandon Lee now recovering in U.S.

BAGUIO, Philippines – The more exciting video to come out on International Human Rights Day, at least to Cordillera activists, is not of U2 singer Bono issuing his "soft message" to President Rodrigo Duterte about not compromising human rights.

Instead, it is a video uploaded by Bayan USA of Brandon Lee, 37, a Chinese-American activist who was seriously injured last August after he was ambushed in front of his house in Lamut, Ifugao.

"Brandon Lee speaks!" said former social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo, who shared the video on Facebook.

The short video had Brandon Lee slowly speaking and thanking "those who continue the long journey and fight for human rights around the world, including the Philippines."

It means a lot to most of his friends that Lee is finally speaking. A paralegal volunteer for the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM) and a columnist for Northern Dispatch, Lee was shot 6 times during the ambush. 

His wounds include shots on his stomach and near his spine which affected his back while recuperating at the Baguio General Hospital and Saint Luke's Medical City. His cheek was also partially torn by a bullet.

Lee came from San Francisco in California and was a member of the League of Filipino Students there even if he wasn't a Filipino. He came to the Cordillera and married an Ifugao native. The IPM where he worked at was particularly targeted and two of his officemates were already assassinated.

After funds were raised for his airlift to the United States, Lee went back to San Francisco in October.

"I've been in this country for some time now," he said in the video.

After acknowledging that he is on a long road to recovery, Lee ended his short video with the Cordillera ending: "Laban! Payt latta (Fight, fight still)!" –