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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Thursday, December 12, 2013

IN the words of Mary Robinsons, “Human rights are inscribed in the hearts of the people; they were there long before lawmakers drafted their first proclamation.”

Inscribed, such is the word that would probably best describe our tireless pursuit for liberty, and yet it has been that other words as well, tireless; because despite the string of beautiful words etched in our society of how we must protect and uphold every single human beings right, society continuously suffers great forms of oppression, both intentional and unnoticed.

At the start of the Aquino administration’s term, they have promised reform to improve our justice system’s ability to protect people from oppression, such reform was said to have been highlighted by the prosecution of high ranking military officers, even one infamous governor, but all that right seems like talking points, because ever since 2010, although there has been some kind of action, it has bore no clear outcome as no one has yet to be prosecuted, even for the evident and clear murder of journalists and civilians in the Ampatuan Massacre case.

Even more so, right now, the freedom of speech, and of the press, the right to say without fear or prejudice, is not yet a reality. There is continuous harassment, and even real threats imposed on journalists especially in the provinces, and yet these too are, either unheard or worst lack the clear attention and urgency, that our society often trivializes itself in entertainment. The cat fights of Manila show-business offer more lights than the deaths of media men each day, we are both distracted and deaf, and there is no worst plight than that.

We have no shortage of words in society. There is no failure in literature to generate awareness, to fetter the truth that our press may appear to be free, but it is not free. That we have this huge cage that cordons our actions, that each day another media man dies, or gets hurt in the name of free speech, their hearts do not just sink, their courage gets tested too, and dare me to say that although I am certain that there will be formidable spirits that will endure, we cannot let it dwindle down to the last few lights.

Our government has a duty to stop this violence, not just because it is a member of the UN Human Rights Council, but because it is representative of a people whose history has been defined by the struggle for freedom, it is in our blood, it is in our spirit, but most of all it is in our hearts.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 12, 2013.


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