Press Release
January 19, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1207:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Passage of the Human Rights Defender Bill in the House of Representatives

I congratulate my fellow Bicolano lawmaker, Rep. Edcel Lagman, for the passage of the Human Rights Defenders Bill in the House of Representatives.

The Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) are our advocates, community organizers, labor leaders, environmentalists, and in many instances, protectors of our people. Our HRDs serve our people directly. Our HRDs listen to their grievances, address their concerns and take part in the solution.

The HRDs serve the most marginalized and oppressed sectors in our society. They deserve our gratitude, our support, and, at the very least, our respect. They should never be met with disdain, much less hostility.

It diminishes us as a democracy and as human beings that HRDs in our country are being red-tagged, demonized, abused, and attacked by our public officials and law enforcers.

Let it not be forgotten that, aside from their personal commitment to advocate for others and for causes bigger than their own personal concerns, they are, in all other respects, exactly like every one of us. They are sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, spouses, and friends to people who value their life as much as our loved ones value ours.

Attacks on them can happen to any one of us - which, ironically, is precisely what they are being targeted for: for defending us; for defending our rights. So an attack on them is an attack against us, our loved ones, and all the things we value in this life.

So I call on my colleagues in the Senate, especially Committee on Justice and Human Rights Chairman Richard Gordon, to do our part. This bill has been languishing in the Committee long enough. Let us approve this measure that protects our HRDs. They are our partners in nation-building. It is time for us to give them the recognition and protection they deserve.

Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 1207, here:

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