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Stand up for human rights: bishop

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza called on Negrenses to stand up for human rights, as the country marked the International Human Rights Day yesterday.

“We believe that the way to recover better is through defending our people’s rights for a better life, amid this pandemic,” Alminaza said in his diocesan pastoral message.

In Negros Island, there are 92 cases of extrajudicial killings, with 95 political prisoners jailed, he said. He enjoined Negrenses to celebrate the International Human Rights Day by being vigilant and by protecting the rights of every human being.

“Our diocese speaks consistently that the right to life should be protected by law and by institutions. Yet until today, our cries to end the killings in Negros island remain unheeded,” Alminaza said, stressing also that they are still seeking justice for the deaths of attorney Ben Ramos, Ka Toto Patigas, and Zara Alvarez, among others.

“Our country needs to recover better, from the many issues affecting our nation, including the PhilHealth scandal, the direction and implementation of Covid-19 Bayanihan Act to Heal as One Fund, the inefficiency of the DepEd online learning, the more than P16-billion proposed NTF-ELCAC anti-insurgency fund, and the excess of foreign loans and grants for Covid-19 response, among others,” he stressed.

Alminaza also called for a stop to red-tagging of activists, peoples’ organizations, and church-people, who defend human rights. “Instead, the root causes of the armed conflict should be addressed and peace negotiations should be seriously pursued,” he added. “The Philippines, under the present administration, has become a dangerous country especially for human rights defenders,” he added.*

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