[Literary] A Plea to A Torturer: A Poem


I am not a toy,
You can enjoy
Stripping me naked
helpless and scared…

I am not a toy,
You can enjoy
treating me as a play thing.
as if I have no feeling…

I am not a toy
You can enjoy
Putting a gun on my head
And make me filled with dread…

I am not a toy
You can enjoy
Asking me a million times
To confess for uncommitted crime…

I am not a toy
You can enjoy
Laughing at me
As I beg for mercy…

I am not a toy
You can enjoy
Putting my head into a pale of water
Or electrocute me to make me whimper…

I am not a toy
You can enjoy
Punching me in the face
And tease me as I grimace…

I am not a toy
You can enjoy
Listening to my scream
As your cigarette burns my skin…

I am not a toy,
You can enjoy
Locking me up in a dark, cold room
To make me feel how to lie in a tomb.

I am not a toy
You can enjoy
Imposing your authority over me
And seeing how I endure your cruelty…

I am not a toy
You can enjoy
Because I am human being too
Just like everyone including you…

Stop torture

Photo courtesy of www.amnesty.org.uk

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[Video] Death Penalty: Facts and Figures of 2013


By Amnesty International

The death penalty is a premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state in the name of justice. It violates the right to life as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The human rights organizations around the world have been opposing the use of death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to judicially execute anyone. It is not only legally and morally wrong, it is practically unacceptable as well.

  • It is not necessary for an effective system of criminal justice. The deficiencies in due process is irreparable.
  • There is nothing that can justify the taking of any life. Its sever social costs and values disintegration outweigh against its supposed social benefits.
  • The financial burdens it puts on the state are far heavier than those of a system that includes only life imprisonment without parole.

Death to Death Penalty! Watch the video at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VZjD96C9uk

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[Reflection] Five Reasons Why Marcos should not be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani


The commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the Martial Law Declaration has once again revived the debate over whether former president Ferdinand Marcos should be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).

Although, President Benigno Aquino III has made it clear that the late president would not be laid to rest at the national pantheon under his watch, Sen. Bongbong Marcos, the late president’s son still expressed optimism that PNoy would soon have a change of heart and would finally give his father a state burial.

For those who were lucky not to be born yet during the dictatorial regime of the late president might be puzzled on what this fuss is all about that is seemingly dividing the country once again.

Some who are fortunate to have lived to tell their stories of sufferings during Martial Law are firm in their stand to deny Marcos of a hero’s burial. Others who have had enough of political bickering are now calling for forgiveness and reconciliation in order for the country to move forward.

However, the controversy here lies not on the very act of burying the remains of the late president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani but whether to be or not to be considered a hero in the context of a possible state burial.

Let me just give you some logical thoughts on this issue. Here are the five reasons why Marcos should not be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani:

#1 Republic Act No. 289 provides the main reason for the national pantheon as provided in its Section 1 which states that, “to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generation still unborn.”

In short, it is reserved for those whom the nation honors for their service to the country. Marcos as a former President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is not automatically qualified for there is also a disqualification clause that says that any personnel who dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service or who were convicted by final judgment of the offense involving moral turpitude will be unentitled to be interred in the national pantheon.

Considering this very intent of the law and given the historical facts of what had transpired during Martial Law and the way the late president and his first family were chased out of Malacanang and out of the country through People Power Revolution, Marcos would hardly consider a hero worth emulating and an inspiration to the Filipinos and to the next generation.

A hero’s burial for the former dictator is desecrating the memories of our Filipino Heroes.

Reference:

http://asianjournalusa.com/marcos-to-be-or-not-to-be-lnmb-p10455-168.htm

 

If this reason is not enough, we can go to the next one.

#2 Martial Law remains one of the darkest episodes in Philippine history. There were 3,257 victims of extra-judicial killings, 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated under Marcos’ dictatorship.

In fact, Republic Act No. 10368 was recently passed by Philippine Congress as recognition for the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime.

Even long before that, 9,500 human rights victims who filed class suit against the Marcoses already won $2 billion in damages in a Honolulu court which were affirmed by a United States Circuit Court in Hawaii. in its 2011 ruling.

A hero’s burial for the former dictator is an insult to the thousands of martial law victims.

Reference:

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/54a/062.html

 

If you are still unconvinced, let us then talk about the economy under the Marcos regime.

#3 The prosperity and progress under the Marcos regime is an illusion. In 1974, the poverty rate was 24%. By 1980 it was 40%. When Marcos assumed the presidency, the country’s foreign debt was US$1 billion. When Marcos fled to Hawaii, the country was heavily in debt with US$25 Billion. The bulk of these borrowed funds, according to sources had been stashed abroad.

Not only that the Marcoses and its associates were accused of plundering an estimated $10 billion from the Philippine coffers, “Imeldific” is now synonymous to extravagant displays of wealth, sometimes to the point of vulgarity because of her lavish shopping trips to New York City with a huge entourage, spending millions on jewelry, clothes, and shoes.

It in noted that as of now, the Presidential Commission on Good Government had recovered 164 billion pesos (about $4 billion) since its creation, including a 150-carat ruby and a diamond tiara, hundreds of millions of dollars hidden in Swiss bank accounts and prime real estate in New York City.

A hero’s burial for the former dictator is a slap in the face of the millions of Filipinos who have suffered in grinding poverty while still paying for the debts of the Marcoses.

Reference:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/03/world/asia/philippines-may-end-pursuit-of-marcos-wealth.html?_r=0

 

If that is still not sufficient enough, let’s see if you really know our history.

# 4 Having Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani would mean rewriting our history. This will require revision of all history textbooks to glorify Marcos and depict the Martial Law as a peaceful and prosperous period in Philippine history.

It is not only a waste of public money but it will make our historians look like a bunch of fools. Filipinos are known to have short memories and are the most forgiving of people – a character that will always allow thieves, liars, scalawags and rascals to take advantage, but it does not mean we should stay ignorant and be naïve in allowing our history to be rewritten by someone with some personal vested interests.

A hero’s burial for the former dictator is a shameless attempt to rewrite history.

Reference:

http://grantleishman.weebly.com/my-blog/rewriting-history

 

If you are still not convinced yet, you are either too slow to get it or you are just simply stupid to understand that this issue is merely a desperate attempt of the Marcoses to reclaim their old political power.

#5 Declaring Marcos as a hero, would serve well not only the personal but also the political interests of his family. It will definitely exonerate them from their past crimes.

Sen. Bongbong Marcos was quite open with his intention to run for President in 2016. He could very well project himself as THE SON OF A HERO as veteran journalist Ms. Raissa Robles described him in her blog.

That will also lift the burden to Mrs. Marcos from hiding her extravagance – taken from our own pocket of course and will still be entitled with a state pension as if she direly needed it. Not to mention that she is the second richest congressperson behind, only to boxing icon Rep. Manny Pacquiao.

A hero’s burial for the former dictator is a mockery to the intelligence of the Filipino electorate.

Reference:

http://raissarobles.com/2011/04/13/why-the-marcoses-want-ferdinand-buried-a-hero/

 

I can still give more reasons why Marcos should not be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. But it will be a waste of my time if the one reading this post is not smart enough to grasp these five major points. I will just leave it to you, my readers, to make your own choice. But just remember what Edmund Burke once said,

“Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.”

Marcos burial site in Batac

Courtesy of www.aljazeera.com

[Reflection] Torture Rehabilitation should be victim-centered


For human rights advocates, rehabilitation of torture victims is understood as both a right of the victims and a state obligation. It should play an important role in the broader agenda of achieving justice and respect for human rights.

It must be viewed holistically as it goes beyond physical and psychological care and extend to other types of services (legal, social and economic services, e.g. education, employment, housing, etc.), that enable the victims to restore life with dignity and return to life of normalcy.

However, rehabilitation is more than just responding to victims’ basic needs. It must respond to the real impact of violations in victims’ lives and at the same time, it should be given as sincere efforts on the part of the government to acknowledge the human rights violations and to provide concrete measure of justice to those whore rights have been violated.

The participation of the victims and their families in the designing and effective implementation of rehabilitation programs and services is therefore vital. This will ensure that torture rehabilitation is tailored to each victim’s needs and their particular situation while considering the effects of torture and other violations on families, communities and larger society.

Rehabilitation programs should promote individual, family and social healing, recovery and reintegration. This may include restoring cultural practices, traditions and exercising political beliefs without fear. Working only at the individual level is not enough. There is a need to consider rehabilitation beyond the individual level and to look at social dimension of rehabilitation.

In the Philippines, the passage of the RA 9745 or Anti-Torture Law on 2009 and the promulgation of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program in March 2014, did not make any significant improvement in the human rights situation.

Not only for the fact the torture continues unabated, there is still a lack of adequate rehabilitation measures for torture survivors and their families. While institutional efforts are being undertaken to give flesh and blood to this normative framework, the reality remains that rehabilitation services are not yet readily available for torture victims/survivors in many countries including the Philippines.until now, relevant government agencies still have no clear operational procedure and have no budget line for its implementation.

The participation of victims and their families in addressing the issue of rehabilitation, designing rehabilitation measures and seeing these programs are implemented can contribute powerfully to its success or failure.Nevertheless, there is a need to create enabling conditions for victims’ participation that would allow victims to feel that they are valued and recognized as rights-holders.

So in order to have a common understanding of the concept of rehabilitation not only as an inherent right emerging from human rights violations but also to identify its different forms and the necessary operational mechanisms for its provisions, the victims should be at its center.

 

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[Video] Lest We Forget: Victims of Martial Law – youtube


Lest We Forget: 

Martial Law and its victims

ON THE 63rd anniversary of the declaration of December 10 as International Human Rights Day, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism releases a 13-minute video in memory and in honor of those who fought for democracy and freedom during the dark uncertain days of Martial Law.

The video is a compilation of the stories of six human rights victims or their families, all of them part of the 10,000 human rights victims who were recently awarded $1,000 each as part of a settlement against the estate of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

More than the story of anguish and terror and tragedy, these are stories of ordinary men and women who lived extraordinary lives. Too, these are stories of wives who became widows, and children who became orphans. Most of all, these are stories that the victims could only wish they could forget, even as they hope we all will remember and learn.

Interviews conducted by Malou Mangahas; camerawork by Winona Cueva. Editing by PCIJ interns Florenz Sison and Darlene Basingan; score by Florenz Sison.

Courtesy of http://pcij.org.

[Videos] Human Rights Violations in the Philippines | **EXPLICIT – youtube


 

A mock News Report Video for UW (University of Washington) Students for a Research project based on the Human Rights Violations in the Philippines.