Progressive senatoriable walks for human rights

LAS PINAS CITY – Makabayan senatorial bet Teodoro “Teddy” Casiño joined the Southern Tagalog people’s march for human rights as it reached the National Capital Region on Friday, Dec 7.

Andrianne Mark Ng, coordinator of Bayan Muna Partylist which Casiño represents in the Congress spoke highly of latter’s ardent crusade to rid the country of mindless violence and impunity.

“Rep. Casiño has always been vocal about the worsening human rights situation in the country. His searing criticisms would always hit a nerve amongst perpetrators and the state that tolerates them,” Ng said. He recounted how Pres. Noynoy Aquino has recently dismissed human rights abuses as leftist propaganda.

The Southern Tagalog secretary-general of the rights group Karapatan, Glen Malabanan echoes Ng’s support of Casiño and condemnation of the Aquino government’s incompetence to solve rights abuses.

“Thousand of marchers from Southern Tagalog and Metro Manila are now here to testify against human rights violations. We’re not mere leftist propaganda. We’re real and the abuses happen,” she said.

“Those who fail to open their eyes and acknowledge the worsening state of human rights in the country do not have the right to be elected into office ever again. If they can’t find the problem, then how would they even think of contributing to the solution?”

Malabanan, however, finds hope in Casiño who has authored and supported bills that would solve some of the pressing human rights issues in the country such as extrajudicial killing, abduction, torture, freedom of expression and other civil liberties, and equal access to basic human rights such as education, health care, housing, decent wage, land reform, among others. The bills include the Public Attorney’s Act, Anti-Torture Act, Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, and the P125 Across-the-Board Wage Increase Bill.

Ate Sharon, one of the Lakbayan marchers from Calamba City is happy to see Casiño walking alongside the people. “Ang mga katulad po ni Cong. Teddy ang nagpapalakas ng loob namin. May kakampi pa rin pala ang mga simpleng mamamayan sa loob ng gobyerno,” she said. Ate Sharon works as an on-call housemaid and garbage collector in Calamba to raise her six children.

“We need more people like Casiño in the Senate, people who would ensure that these privileged men and women donning suits worth a fortune would see us from the Senate podium and understand our plight,” Ng said.

As for Malabanan, Casiño is a reason to hope for short-term resolutions on human rights abuses. “Millions of voters from Southern Tagalog are rallying for him in the Senate for sure,” she said adding a call for other senatoriables to support Casiño and Makabayan coaliton’s platforms for human rights.

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