Solidarity Message for Stakeholders and Partners during the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the New CHR IX Building

Solidarity Message for Stakeholders and Partners during the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the New CHR IX Building

by CHR Chairperson Richard P. Palpal-Latoc

Our colleagues and friends from the Armed Forces of the Philippines-WESMINCOM; Philippine National Police –PRO 9; Bureau of Jail and Management Penology 9; Bureau of Corrections – San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm; the Local Government of Zamboanga City; Zamboanga Basilan Integrated Development Alliance Mujer-LGBT Org; Community and Family Services International; Representative from Indigenous People; SILSILAH Dialogue Movement; Federation of Zamboanga Civil Society Organization Inc.; Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU) – School of Law; Youth Alliance for Human Rights Ateneo (ADZU-CHRE); and the Western Mindanao State University;

Good morning!

It has been 5 months since our assumption to the office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).  From day 1, we have been keen on faithfully performing the mandates of the CHR that had been entrusted to us.

We took off from the relationships built by the former Chairpersons and Commissioners of the CHR, with the government and the civil society organizations, the academe, and the public in general.  Their efforts, initiatives, and accomplishments were truly remarkable and praiseworthy to date, these continue to serve as our yardstick, in the hopes that we perform at par, or even better, aiming to surpass the high standards set by the previous Commissions.

From Left to Right: Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe, CHR Region IX Director Atty. Judelyn Macapili, CHR Chairperson Atty. Richard Palpal-Latoc, CHR Commissioner Beda Epres, GOJUST Technical Assistance Team Leader Robert Francis Garcia, Representative from DPWH Region IX, and Contractor Engr. Oliver Fortich

Of course, this will not happen without the collaborative efforts of the two major players in the human rights cause — the government and the society as represented by the civil society organizations (CSOs), the non government organizations (NGOs), and other similar stakeholders.  We recognize that this endeavor is not the sole responsibility of the CHR. Human rights protection and promotion should be everybody’s concern, everybody’s task, and everybody’s duty. With this in mind, we encourage all to join us in the worthiest of all causes. Let us work together so that critical cooperation amongst us all can truly exist. Only then can we forge ahead and effectively assist in establishing a genuine culture of human rights where everybody is included and no one is left behind.

From Left to Right: CHR Chairperson Richard Palpal-Latoc, CHR Region IX Director Atty. Judelyn Macapili, and CHR Commissioner Beda Epres

Today, we manifest the Commission’s commitment, as the National Human Rights Institution of the Philippines, to maintain its independence following its mandate, to be the link of the government and the society (through the CSOs and NGOs) on matters affecting human rights, to maintain critical collaboration with the government, and to engage in productive cooperation and engagement with both the government and the society.

Part of our initiatives is the planned human rights caravan dubbed “LAKARAN”. This aims:

  1. To conduct human rights education and promotion in the region, hoping that it reaches the grassroots of society;
  2. To actively engage with the CSOs, and NGOs,  speaking with them,  and learning  directly from them about the human rights situation in the locality; and
  3. To touch base with the local government and other agencies of the government, in the hope of further popularizing human rights in governance and service and the importance of human rights centers in schools and barangays.

We are confident that having commenced this grassroots program across the nation, the level and quality of appreciation for human rights in the context of nation-building would soon manifest a marked improvement and enthusiasm in the consciousness and being of all Filipinos.

Thank you.