By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo called on Filipinos to value human rights in these challenging times as the nation commemorated on Monday the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Robredo, a long-time human rights lawyer, said she hoped the people will live out the oath to uphold and respect human rights for positive change.
“Sa paggunita ng ika-70 anibersaryo ng Deklarasyon, nawa’y ito ang ating maging panata: ang pagtaguyod ng karapatang pantao para sa makatao, makabuluhan, at mabuting pagbabago (In the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the declaration, may this be our oath: upholding human rights for humane, meaningful, and positive change),” she said.
This was her message 70 years after the United Nations General Assembly adopted on December 10, 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UDHR states that every person is entitled to basic rights and fundamental freedom.
The Philippines was one of the 48 countries that signed the historic document in Paris, France.
Robredo underscored the country’s important role in the adoption of the UDHR.
The Vice President said respect for human rights was enshrined in Philippine laws after the Supreme Court recognized the principles of UDHR. She was referring to “valuing each life, showing respect for the dignity of others, and standing firm to give each family a good life.”
“If we strengthen our resolve to follow these principles, they will lead to a progressive and free society,” she said in Filipino.
The Robredo added that if the country exemplifies again its deep respect for human rights, it would be a great testimony for the people of being a true Filipino.
“Malinaw sa ating kasaysayan na ang prinsipyo ng karapatang pantao ay hindi lang para sa Pilipino, kundi tatak Pilipino. Base rito ang sistema ng batas at pamamahala ng ating bansa at ito ang puso ng ating kultura (It is clear in our history that the principles of human rights are not only for Filipinos, but the mark of a Filipino. This is the basis of the system of law and government in our country and it is the heart of our culture),” she said.
On Human Rights Day, opposition senatorial candidate Florin Hilbay also highlighted the importance of recognizing and respecting the dignity, freedom, and the rights of every Filipino.
Hilbay, a lawyer and former solicitor general, said human rights are a vital component of democracy.
“Ang sentro ng kahit na anong demokrasya ay ang pagkakaroon ng isang lipunang may paggalang sa dignidad ng buhay at karapatang pantao (The core of democracy is having a society, when dignity and human rights are respected),” he said.
These rights, according to Hilbay, would ensure the people to live freely and peacefully.
“Hindi ito regalo ng gobyerno na maaaring bawiin kung kaniyang gustuhin, at mas lalong hindi ito utang ng mga tao sa pamahalaan (This is not a gift that the government can take back when it wants to and it’s even less a people’s debt to the government),” he said.