By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
People should learn from their past.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is highlighting this as the country celebrated its 122nd Independence Day anniversary.
CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia recalled the Spanish occupation in the Philippines which lasted for over three centuries. She said that Filipinos suffered from all kinds of abuses during that time, such as forced labor, unfair taxes, and suppression of expression and petitions against the government.
These all ended when the country’s heroes finally had enough and took a stand against colonialism.
Now, there is a different kind of threat that the country is facing. The enemy, said De Guia, cannot even be seen but it has already claimed so many lives and is costing the country its resources.
“Malaya man tayong maituturing, subalit ang patuloy na pagkabigo natin bilang isang lipunan na tugunan ang mga pangunahing pangangailangan ng ating kapwa at pagsisiguro ng disenteng pamumuhay ng bawat isa, ang nagtatali sa ating mga kamay sa kawalang hustisya’t kahirapan (We might be considered as a free people, but our continued failure as a society to meet the basic needs of our neighbor and ensure the well-being of each other, holds our hands in captivity to injustice and poverty),” said De Guia.
The CHR said every Filipino deserves to have food, education, work, freedom, and to live their lives with dignity. The Commission urged Filipinos to look to the past and learn from them.
“Maaaring malayong alaala na ito sa ating kasaysaya’t kamalayan, subalit kinakailangan natin bumalik sa mga pangyayaring ito upang ipaalala sa ating mga sarili na walang pang-aapi kung walang magpapa-api at walang karahasan kung walang magpapadahas, (This may be a distant memory of our history but we must return to these events to remind ourselves that there is no oppression without oppression and no violence without oppression),” said De Guia.
The CHR said the threat of occupation has not been fully eliminated. Should that threat return, De Guia encouraged Filipinos to unite and fight for things that will be in the best interest of everyone and not just of the few.
“Nasa taumbayan ang lakas, nasa atin ang pagpapasya. Hindi lamang ito para sa kasalukuyang henerasyon subalit para sa mga susunod na salinlahi na magmamana ng ating mga ipinaglalaban, (The country’s strength lies in the people. The decision is ours. This is not only for the present generation but for the future generations that will take up the battle),” she said.