During martial law, many Filipinos were deprived of their rights to life, liberty, and property. For most of our young life as a nation, the Liberal Party has helped advocate for the recognition and respect of the fundamental human rights of all Filipinos.
The Liberal Party has served as a political obstacle to dictator Marcos’s plan to illegally extend his term and impose one-man rule; many party leaders and members were prosecuted and even killed during this time.
When constitutional democracy was restored after People Power I, party stalwarts went against the wishes of the late President Corazon Aquino and ended more than half a century of United States’ military presence in the Philippines by rejecting a new bases treaty in 1991.
In 2000 under the Estrada administration, the party stood against corruption and actively participated in People Power II that ousted him. The party suffered a split under the Arroyo administration also over issues of corruption.
Recognizing that corruption violates the collective economic right of the governed people to the taxes borne of their labor and their right to development, Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno Aquino III led the nation in the last six years pushing an anti-corruption agenda.
With reduced membership, the party is now faced with a popular administration that is waging a controversial and deadly war victimizing the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized in its campaign to wipe out illegal drug use through Oplan Tokhang, the execution of which the Senate justice and public order committees deemed to violate constitutional rights, as well as its plans to restore the death penalty and to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 9 years old.
Today, December 10, we call on all Filipinos to reaffirm our common humanity, ang malasakit sa ating kapwa, and stand up for the rights of all. We echo the call of the United Nations for each of us to “step forward and defend the rights of a refugee or migrant, a person with disabilities, an LGBT person, a woman, a child, indigenous peoples, a minority group, or anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence” — mga nasa laylayan ng ating lipunan.
The fight for human rights has not ended when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 68 years ago. Kaya ipagdiwang natin ang araw na ito. Patuloy tayong kumilos at makilahok upang itulak ang ating karapatang mabuhay nang malaya, maligaya, at masagana.