WOMEN advocate and leader Cecile “Liway” Oebanda, founder of the Visayan Forum, was in Bacolod City recently for the culmination of the 18-day campaign to end violence against women.
The women leader, who was once known as “Kumander, Liway,” was a former rebel leader who fought for her right and the right of her son and family during the martial law period.
She stood the test of time insofar as her advocacy and belief that any human being should be protected from any attempt to curtail his or her right.
She said there are more cases of violence against women, including human trafficking that created new forms of human rights violation.
“There are issues on forced labor, child labor, cybersex, several others which are so alarming,” she said.
She added that they have rescued a one-year-old from cybersex.
She said young girls become vulnerable, thus, they continue their education campaign in schools to inform the children about the said cases.
“These children should be informed on how they could protect themselves from such abuses and where they can seek help if they have encountered such a problem,” she said.
She said the martial law then and now is different because of its scope. But there were some issues that were similar such as the high cost of basic commodities, political unrest, among others.
“But we need to be vigilant now because there are efforts to change the story of the martial law before where there were no human rights problems. If we will not take responsibility and accountable for our rights as a human, there will be more children to suffer in the future. We need to protect our human rights,” she said.
She learned that we need to retell the story and share it with the younger generation because this cannot be harvested, she said.
“There is a big gap about the real story of the past. We need to encourage those who were affected in the past so that the younger generation can learn from it,” she added.