Organizations of various sectors in Metro Manila — youth, workers, urban poor, peasant, women, human rights advocates, lawyers, teachers, etc. — commemorated International Human Rights’ Day with a protest against tyranny and a state of ‘de facto martial law’ in the country.
Hundreds of workers from Sumifru Philippines Corp., a banana-export plantation in Compostela Valley province, joined the protest. They traveled from Mindanao to Manila to protest the violent dispersal of their strike. They went on strike on October 1, to demand the company to engage them in collective bargaining and regularization of their tenure.
Hundreds of students, teachers and parents from the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network also joined the December 10 protest and condemned all moves for another Martial Law extension. They arrived in Metro Manila this June and their ‘bakwit school’ have been hosted in various universities, churches and other institutions so that Lumad children may continue their schooling while in evacuation. SOS Network is a network of advocates for Lumad alternative schools, defending against the forced closure of their schools due to militarization and forced evacuation from Lumad communities and other forms of harassment from military and state agencies.
The International Human Rights Day this year marked the 70th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.