Early 2017, the social media media was abuzz with the news of Lumads who escaped from Hacienda Luisita because they were allegedly treated like slaves.
According to the Lumads who talked to Dr. Lorraine Badoy, they were promised P500/day when they were recruited but ended up getting paid P160/week and as low as P40/week.
And worse, they had to get up as early as 2AM to start their day since they were paid by the tons of harvested sugar canes instead of by the day as were promised.
The Lumads finally found the chance to escape after months of toiling in an abusive working environment. [Link here]
To make the story short, Asst. Secretary to the DSWD Dr. Lorraine Badoy contacted one of the lawyers of the Commission on Human Rights, hoping to raise the issue of the Lumads before the human rights body but she was rebuffed.
In a Facebook post, Dr. Lorraine Badoy recalled the incident, in light of the controversy surrounding the CHR lately.
About the CHR headed by Chito Gascon.
When Lumad/TBoli farmers were trafficked by Hacienda Luisita and then made to work for 38 pesos a week, enduring all sorts of abuse,the CHR didn’t breathe a word in their defense. Not one word.
I spoke to one of their lawyers because I wanted so badly for the CHR to add to the voices of government agencies that had spoken out in outrage —the DSWD, DOLE, DAR,etc.
We had a back and forth—this lawyer and I. And she gave reasons replete in legalese for why they couldn’t get on board. I still have our chat and reading through it continues to anger me. Because basically what I heard her say was, “Sorry, that is not our job now.”
It got to the point where I was reduced to just asking if they could issue a statement that was in clear solidarity with the farmers because it would help so much, them lending their weight to this horrific injustice.
You’d think they would have said yes. You can’t get any closer to the violation of human rights than modern day slavery does, right? But no.. :'(
The answer she gave me was a long-winded “no” and not the clear, unequivocal answer one would expect from a truly impartial CHR.
It was the answer of a CHR headed and prostituted by Chito Gascon–someone who owes his allegiance to his political buddies far more than to the country he is supposed to serve.
Someone who attends international conferences with a bright yellow tie dotted with Ninoy Aquino eyeglasses printed on it. Who doesn’t even have it in him to pin the Philippine flag on his lapel. (And what’s more, it was an international conference that had, at its very goal, the takedown of a duly elected President of the Republic of the Philippines.)
And that speaks volumes to me.
He’s in an international conference and yet he’s not there as a Philippine representative but as an LP representative out to further the agenda of his party.
It’s just so stark where his loyalties lie.
He’s the CHR equivalent of Donkey Soliman who used the DSWD as political machinery –its resources, its manpower to try to make Mar Roxas, the monumental loser, win. With all the odds rigged in favor of this elitist brat, still, he lost. MASSIVELY. Susmeh. Loser.
At yan ang galit ko kay Donkey—how she compromised the integrity of the people under her—faithful, hardworking, principled public servants—to do her evil bidding.
I continue to hold the CHR in high esteem. I know its revered institutional history and I don’t think Chito Gascon has irreversibly damaged it.
But if he continues to hang on to it, it would lose its’ respectability and venerated reputation. Already, Filipinos sneer and jeer at it for all the damage done on it by Chito Gascon.
If he still has an ounce of love for this institution he heads and for all that it stands for, he should resign.
Fat chance though.
Therein lies the dilemma of the CHR –held hostage by someone perceived by many as nothing more than an attack dog of his political party and who has used precious government resources to overthrow the very government it owes its life to.
Then reduced a respected institution that’s supposed to do important work for the Filipino people into nothing more than a rubber stamp of the political foes of the President.