Advocates

By: Sofia Aliño Logarta December 13,2017 - 11:04 PM

LOGARTA

The celebration of Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought to mind human rights advocates. During martial law of Marcos Rule, there was an oil price increase. The youth could not resist having a march in opposition to the price hike.

Among the leaders was Ruben Carranza who was then a UP Cebu Student Council chairperson.

The leaders were brought to Camp Lapu-Lapu. The supporters stayed near the gate. So Viking said, “Let’s get in touch with Mocring.”

He and Menmen were often called in moments like that, times when students and other youth engaged in very harmless moves; when they claimed their right to express their grievances.

When martial law was declared, Mocring’s house was raided and he was detained. With the assistance of his wife, the nationalist lawyer was released.

Menmen, who had been studying for the bar examination was also arrested.

He worked out his defense. The nationalist student leader as a lawyer, then served progressive students, oppressed farmers and union leaders. He assisted the family of a missing worker in finding the father by carrying his child around detention sites.

He let the child call out his father to locate the parent. It was Menmen who defended a whole group of student leaders who were arrested together.

The Redemptorist Fr. Rudy Romano will be remembered in his defense of the rights of the marginalized. He always joined the urban poor when they gathered to claim their rights.

After an afternoon in the Redemptorist Church, the faithful decided to go on a procession towards Fuente Osmeña. Leading them was Fr. Romano and Fr. Josol.

At the corner near Robinson, two men raised their guns and wanted to take the priests, but the people stuck close to them. They refused to leave them at the Ramos Police station. He could not be detained because of the people’s support.

Fr. Rudy Romano realized fully how important for powerless workers joining a genuine labor union was. So he always assisted them in these efforts in whatever way he could. In his “last battle”, the workers were confronted with very powerful forces.

In fact, the support of the religious was actually urged to provide the workers a fighting chance. The workers won but soon after Fr. Rudy Romano disappeared.

Now, Time Magazine gives special recognition to the women who fearlessly stood up to power raising the issue of sexual harassment. With the passage of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law, the entire UP System trained women in Feminist Counseling.

The structures for protection such as Anti-Sexual Harassment Committees were set-up. In UP Cebu, the efforts were led by the late Portia Dacalos. The orientation of entering students always included a discussion on the government and school policies on sexual harassment.

Those entering “On the Job Training” also got the orientation. It was among the first institutions to have a CODI to investigate such cases.

Research revealed that a very significant number of Filipino women were victims of violence, especially in their own homes and families. Lihok Filipina with Bantay Banay responded to the plight of the women whose rights were grossly violated.

Women advocates together with development lawyers led by Atty. Alice K. Morada set-up the Legal Alternatives for Women (LAW) Center, Inc. Among the earlier cases of LAW Center, Inc., was the defense of a female sexually-harassed via the computer.

Leading the organization’s legal services committee was Atty. Arbet Santa Ana-Yongco. She passionately worked for the rights of Alona Bacolod and her family, who had been murdered by her husband, and her family members massacred. Because of her earnestness, she was killed in the early morning as she prayed to begin her work.

At this point, we wish to express our gratitude to all those who supported the LAW Center, Inc. in various ways in its fundraising activity, the premiere of “The Last Jedi”. We can never thank you enough for your gracious assistance as we endeavor to stand by women as they claim their human rights.

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