A Visayas-wide network of civil society organizations working for the promotion and protection of
human rights was launched Saturday in Bacolod City.
Representatives of basic sectors such as labor, urban poor, farmers, fisherfolks, women, youth, PWDs,
transport workers, church, and individual members from the academe, gathered at Planta Centro
Bacolod Saturday morning to launch Tindog Katungod or Stand up for Human Rights, a combined
vernacular understood among people in the Visayas.
The launching is the final outcome of a five-month process of consultations and focus group discussions
among basic sectors and civil society organizations who are working for the promotion and defense of
human rights in the Visayas region.
The partnership building between CSOs and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) was made possibleby the Governance in Justice or Go Just program.
Building consensus for partnership
The Visayas process was facilitated by Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa, with Partido Manggagawa (PM) and
Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) as lead organizations.
Lawyer Stephanie Claros of PM, a fresh bar passer who landed No. 15 opened the session by appraising
the participants of the process that led to the formation of Tindog Katungod.
“I was not yet a lawyer when the partnership process started early this year, but she was convinced that
the present condition demands closer cooperation between groups if we are to effectively advance and
protect the human rights of our people,” she said.
The formation of Tindog Katungod is an outcome of a series of consultative meetings that were held in
Cebu and Bacolod City wherein representatives from the islands of Leyte, Bohol, Panay, Guimaras and
Negros have actively participated.
The meetings resulted to a decision of forming a loose, but highly coordinative network of organizations
who are willing to work together for the promotion and protection of human rights.
Sixto “Dodo” Macasaet, Outcome 3 Coordinator of the Go Just Project and lawyer Romeo Baldevarona,
Provincial Director of CHR Negros, represented the CHR at the launching and they assured the
participants of CHR’s active and continuing collaboration with the CSOs in their human rights work and
advocacies during their respective messages.
The perils of ChaCha
Another highlight of the Tindog Katungod launching was a public forum on charter change where former
representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III as resource person.
Tanada III discussed the current move in revising the 1987 Constitution and its implications to human
“If the mode of changing the Constitution will be done through a Constituent Assembly (ConAss), then I
believe that it is self-serving and only carry the interests of incumbent lawmakers that would impair the
political process,” stressed Tanada III.
“One of the proposals authored in the House provides for the abolition of Congress and the granting of
dual powers (executive and legislative) to the President,” emphasized Tanada III.
Tanada also underscored “that Charter Change is not really necessary at this point in time. Even the
proposed shift towards federalism may only lead to a very costly experiment at this time when our
people are shaking from high prices of goods and services due to the imposition of new taxes under
Asserting a life of dignity
The launching of Tindog Katungod ended with the ratification of the group’s Unity Statement. A portion
of the unity statement reads:
“We assert that it is not the people’s human rights advocacy that has emboldened lawless elements to
break peace, law and order. On the contrary, we believe that it is the current regime that has created a
political condition that undermines the value of human life by glorifying killings and violence as a norm.
President Durterte’s vicious and relentless attack on the human rights concept itself, including the very
institutions created by the Constitution to ensure its promotion and progressive realization such as the
Commission on Human Rights, the Office of the Ombudsman, and now the Supreme Court, has created
the culture of impunity that emboldens both the law enforcers and lawless elements to undermine
human rights and the inviolability of life.”
Furthermore, Tindog Katungod also wants to highlight demands of the basic sectors for the realization of
their economic and socio-cultural rights such as on the issues of regular and gainful employment both in
the private and public sector; social security, just transition, employment opportunities especially for the
informal sector, the youth and PWDs; agrarian justice, health sector reform, safe and livable communities, and an end to violence and discrimination against women and LGBT community, among
“Apparently, its war against illegal drugs may have reflected lack of respect for human rights. But
substantially, this administration also has a paltry track record on many other aspects of human rights,
including the economic and socio-cultural rights of our people,” added the statement.
Tindog Katungod said they bonded together by their common desire to live a life of dignity in a peaceful
community where human rights reign supreme as a framework in pursuing social development.
(Archived news May 2018)