On Human Rights Day, group scores PNoy for continued failure to uphold


10 December 2014

On Human Rights Day Wednesday, a human rights group gave President
Benigno Aquino III yet another failing grade for his leadership in human

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) said the lack
of a National Human Rights Action Plan allowed corporate-backed impunity.

Such impunity has in turn led to adverse impact on the environment and
climate change, PAHRA said in a statement.

“Impunity lurks even amidst the typhoons and disasters,” said PAHRA
chairman Max de Mesa, referring to what he called mining areas in
Manicani, Samar and in Marinduque.

“Resistance against these increasing violations and destruction, as well
as struggles for a life with dignity and full human development will not
be an option, but an imperative,” he added.

Favoring mining firms?

De Mesa said that when Aquino visited Manicani in Leyte Gulf instead of
Tacloban City last November, he marked the effort of mining firm Nickel
Asia Corp.

Nickel Asia had helped build some 400 houses for victims of super
Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which left 6,300 dead when it lashed the
Visayas last year.

“Nothing has been mentioned of the impunity of the mining companies that
came to the island that destroyed people’s fishing grounds and water
sources, and violated the people’s economic and social rights,” de Mesa

“Impunity has been layered over,” he added.

On the other hand, he cited the continuing threat to 87,000 people from
a toxic pond “in imminent danger of collapsing” left by Marcopper in

Impunity vs. civil, political rights

On the other hand, PAHRA secretary general Rose Trajano lamented
impunity against civil and political rights are usually rooted in
impunity against economic, social and cultural rights.

Trajano cited cases of farmer, indigenous and labor leaders who fell
victim to extrajudicial killings.

“The health of thousands, including children and other vulnerable
people, are at grave risk with the increased building of coal plants,
the source of dirty energy. Production of dirty energy from coal is
only profitable to a handful of elite business people but will, in the
long run, wreak havoc to the people and the planet,” she said. — Joel
Locsin/LBG, GMA News