All Filipinos have equal rights.
“For as long as these rights are not fully upheld and observed, then there is no true freedom,” stressed the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Saturday, June 12, the country’s 123rd Independence Day.
"Alalahanin natin na hindi buo ang ating kalayaan hangga't mayroong mga Pilipinong napagkakaitan ng karapatan at dignidad, (Let us remember that our freedom is not complete as long as there are Filipinos who are deprived of their rights and dignity)," the CHR said.
Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the freedom to go out, gather with loved ones, work, get basic health care services, and travel, among many other things, has been restricted, it said.
These restrictions, it pointed out, have only intensified one's appreciation for freedom.
Most Filipinos have so far complied with the government's health protocols and policies in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, it noted. In doing so, it said, Filipinos are showing love for one's country and love for their fellow countrymen.
"Alam natin na bahagi ito ng ating responsibilidad; tinatanggap natin na ang mga karapatan na ating tinatamasa ay mayroong kaakibat na responsibilidad, (We know this is part of our responsibility; we accept that the rights we enjoy have an associated responsibility)," it explained.
However, the CHR said there are still several issues that “hinder some Filipinos' right to live freely and with dignity – poverty, injustice, and discrimination.”
It lamented that because of these issues, “there are Filipinos who struggle with unemployment, food shortages, difficulty in accessing health services, as well as violence and genocide.”
"Panawagan natin sa gobyerno na tugunan ang mga batayang karapatan ng lahat sapagkat ito ang diwa at pundasyon ng buhay na malaya. Pangunahin dito ang karapatan ng lahat sa kalusugan, trabaho, pagkain, hustisya, at seguridad, (We call on the government to address the basic rights of all because these are the essence and foundation of freedom. Foremost among these are the rights of all to health, employment, food, justice, and security)," it said.
As the government works hard to fulfill Filipinos' basic human rights, it urged the citizenry to remain vigilant and assert their rights.
"Kasama dito ang pagtatanggol at pagtindig sa karapatan ng ating kapwa, lalo na ang mga naisasantabi at napag-iiwanan, (These include defending and upholding the rights of our fellow human beings, especially those who are marginalized and left behind)," it pointed out.