I got an email from National Youth Commission Davao, days before the 64th commemoration of Human Rights Declaration. Attached is an invitation to be part of Walk for Justice. It is a Human Right March from Roxas Avenue to Rizal Park with the theme: Environmental Rights are Human Rights.
The parade is organized by University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council of Ateneo de Davao University. It is participated by NGOs namely; Amnesty International, AFRIM, Karapatan SM, MMCEAI and Panalipdan. Commission on Human Rights XI, IGDD, PNP, Population Office and Task Force Davao are the government agencies that support the event. Banners are sponsored by the multi-sectoral representatives. Assumption College of Davao, Davao Medical Foundation and University of Southeastern Philippines are other participating schools.
An opening remark is given by Fr. Joel Tabora. Testimonies are shared by representatives from Pakibato, Pantukan, Arakan Valley and Compostela Valley Province. Intermission numbers are rendered by Kutao Band, Kaliwat Theatre Group and Teatro Huminadades. Atty. Edmundo Lagmay of CHR XI delivers his message in the observation of Human Right’s Day. I see a piece of paper on students’ chest. The paper shows what their heart shouts.
The Ateneans and the rest of the groups believe that it is also a right to protect and preserve the nature-to keep it from getting destroyed brought by industrialization. The real situation in mining areas is dug. Roger Simbajon who is a resident from Comval asks why foreign capitalists are the one who benefit from their land and not them. He thinks President Ninoy Aquino would understand how difficult it is to raise a family if he was married.
Another one speaks of the death of Father Father, an Italian priest who is killed because of fighting against illegal logging and mining who used to reside in Arakan Valley for a long time.
After the solidarity message, we do collective prayer and lit our candles forming a circle. “God’s light will be our hope” is the repeated response statement uttered prayer after prayer. Unity statement which is the pledge to protect the environment and signing it along with the community song closed the Human Right’s Day.