From Under This Hat: No to human rights violation


By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO

Last Friday afternoon where women and women’s rights advocates gathered to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, one woman stood out. She was a sister, a mother and a friend to people in the crowd and many more. She had an urgent plea, a strong message and heart-wrenching story that was not hers alone anymore. Her voice above the crowd was so familiar already as if those meant to hear it were plugging their ears and playing deaf and dumb. Her story was a testimony of state violence against women, children, against communities of indigenous peoples, against human beings.

She said …

“This organization deals with the many cases of violation against women. The problems continue to pour in, and we are given time and space to be here. In behalf of Jane Balao, our mother, Nonette and I, Joni have a testimony to tell.

We are the mother and sisters of James Balao.

How much pain can a woman bear? Sometimes we ask ourselves, why does it have to happen to particularly me or us? We also do not know why. But things like this should not happen, by God’s law, and by the humanitarian acts law in the Philippines. To violate someone’s being is no practice of a person deserving to survive in this world.

James was abducted in Tomay by five armed men proven to be in the military.

A mother bears sons and daughters to love and nurture and when they have grown they find their way out in society to do what they like doing best. James loves people. And people love him. What pride must a mother have when she bore a son who applies what he learned in school to reach out to the people selflessly and full of compassion…. we, his sisters, we also looked up to him. He holds our hearts with so much respect for him. This man deserves to live.

And what feeling must a mother have if her sons and daughters are abductors, a killer, cuts heads, tortures a fellow man for money or for promotion of rank in office or military status? Pity to the mother and father and kin to this sons and daughters. These people violate the lives of those that deserve to keep on living. These people forget to help the suffering people, they only help themselves. They are blinded by greed and their hearts have turned dark. Their lies become natural to them, they can lie so well rehearsed in front of you and if you cannot see it you will believe them. These people do not deserve to walk the surface of the earth.

Women, friends, we are all in this together. We cry for all the pains, so unbearable, it is a pain so deep. When this month reaches the 17th, this will be the 3rd month that James is still held by his captors.

Gloria’s wrath and her clutches have reached our territory. What is our strength compared to hers?

Mabtad Tako Amin Apo. Bumala Tako am-in ibugao tako’y sakit ni nemnem man bibinnadang tako ay maninap sin kabsat tako ay malit-litao.

Un awas kiton emin jen mangibugao salit ni nemnem. Mantitinulong kiton mengenap niya agi tayon na-tiw!”.

The people now only have themselves to depend on to help each other, so shall we, please help each other prevent any more violation to our human rights? #

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