Every 10th of December, we get to celebrate the declaration that protects us, unites us, and makes our shared humanity more noble – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is where we get our written leverage for Human Rights from.
This year will focus more on education. HAPI Jr started it early, as early as December of 2018. Yes, this article is a testament to that feat. Together with other youth organizations: Youth Empowering Youth Initiative, Akbayan Youth, and University of Saint La Salle Political Science Society and College of Arts and Sciences along with the help and support of the Diocese of Bacolod Social Action Center, all under one roof and conducted PAGHANGOP: Understanding Human Rights, a forum tackling various timely human rights issues in the Philippines.
Paghangop, is a Hiligaynon(Negrense Language) term which means ‘to comprehend’ or ‘to understand’. The main objective of the forum is to let the audience, especially the youth, understand the inherent power they posses, through our rights, and how vital our role is, in protecting it.
The event was a five-part forum. Among those is of course the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted by the United Nations 70 years ago. This was discussed by Mr. Ted Lopez, Executive Director of Alter Trade Foundation. Lopez also gave us a run through on the local human rights issues especially the atrocities done towards our farmers and masses. The second topic of Lopez focused on “Human Rights through the lens of Negrenses” that zeroed in on the continuing local struggles of the Negrenses for attaining their basic human rights.
For the second topic, Dr. Richelle Verdeprado, an academician at University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos and Chairperson of Sowing Legacy Movement Inc, a non-government organization that helps less fortunate students to start or continue their education. Dr. Richelle Verdeprado, by the way, had a collaborative event with HAPI back in 2015 for the Kwaderno Project, an event similar to ARK Project. financially sponsored by HAPI. This topic was decided to be discussed because, at some point, education is still acting as a privilege here in the Philippines rather than a basic human right as what Dr. Verdeprado said in her talk.
After the heavy bomber talk on human rights, Ms. Caryl Pillora of Alyansa Tigil Mina offered us another set of lens where human rights sets in, about our right for a healthful ecology. Focusing on the topic “Human Rights Violations in Environmental Issues”, Pillora showed how mines and different plants destroy the lives of the people by polluting community’s oceans and farm, in effect communities acquire different diseases from these irresponsible acts of big companies, and how the once beautiful place is now destroyed.
The last speaker, Ms. Fercy Almaiz – a youth and student leader from University of Saint La Salle Judiciary talked about our rights for free press and free association.
The event ended with a lot photo ops, staying true to the millenial rule: pics or it didn’t happen.
HAPI Jr Member Advocate. Activist.
Alvin John Ballares
HAPI ED. Modern Diogenes