National Human Rights Consciousness Week and International Human Rights Day
On 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. Following this proclamation, the 10th of December became recognized as International Human Rights Day. The Philippines, as one of the first signatories of the UDHR, later enacted Republic Act No. 9102 or the National Human Rights Consciousness Week.
In celebration of National Human Rights Consciousness Week and International Human Rights Day, the University of the Philippines Law Center Institute of Human Rights (UP IHR) hosted a film showing of “11,103” on 9 December 2022 in Malcolm Hall, UP College of Law. The documentary featured stories of victims of state-sponsored violence during the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The screening was done in partnership with the Human Rights and People Empowerment Center (HRPEC), DAKILA, Active Vista, and the UP Law Student Government (UP LSG).
The event was opened by HRPEC Executive Director Michael Non and UP LSG External Vice President Patrick Cariaga. The HRPEC and UP LSG representatives noted the need to heed lessons of the past in an effort to protect democratic institutions and human rights. UP IHR Director Professor Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan delivered the opening remarks where she emphasized our duty, as citizens, to resist and debunk pervasive propaganda that glorifies Marcos’ Martial Law years.
The screening was followed by a student reaction from UP LSG President Sean Paul Laguna. In his short message, Laguna highlighted the role of law students in standing for academic freedom and upholding the sanctity of our Constitution. Thereafter, an open forum was conducted. Martial Law survivors Mr. Joel Saracho, Mr. Ellis Dela Cruz, Ms. Maya Cortina, former Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) member Atty. Glenda Litong, and the film director Miguel Alcarazen served as panelists. During the forum, the survivors imparted their Martial Law experiences while Director Alcarazen gave insights into the production of the film.
Finally, UP IHR Senior Legal Associate Atty. Raymond Marvic Baguilat closed the event by reflecting on the critical points of the documentary. He concluded his speech by calling on the public to use our collective anger to further the fight against continuing human rights violations. UP IHR’s University Researcher Atty. James Gregory Villasis and Ms. Janessa Kudera served as the event’s Masters of Ceremonies.