The Commission on Human Rights and human rights advocates in general have been criticized for speaking up against the rising death toll since the government launched its war on drugs. They have been slammed for allegedly not speaking up when a person fell victim to murderers, rapists and other forms of crimes. They were even accused of siding with criminals.
But a human rights advocate stood up to be heard among the frequent question of “Nasaan kayong mga human rights advocates noong…?”
In his Facebook post on October 3, Ron de Vera, spoke up to defend himself and his fellow human rights advocates against those who admonish them with “arrogance and ignorance.”
He urged those who criticized them to try human rights work first, even if it’s just for a year, and it has to be full-time work, not just volunteer work during their free time.
“Please lang. Kung makasingil, akala mo nakatambay lang kami sa kanto, nagkakape, at naghihintay ng magandang issue bago kumilos. Subukan niyo kaya mag human rights work, kahit isang taon lang. Pero yung full time ha? Hindi yung volunteer work lang dahil may “extra time” ka on top of your day job,” de Vera said.
“Dapat yung ito lang yung main income mo kasabay ng lahat ng iba mong bayarin at responsibilidad sa buhay,” he added.
De Vera advised those who easily scolded them to understand what human rights work entails, what “human rights” mean, and what institution should be responsible for the things that they are asking human rights workers about. He pointed out that there are cases that are blamed on the non-governmental organizations which should have been the responsibility of the government. He even offered to have their narrative reports inspected.
He also noted just how “thankless” human rights work can be, yet they are being hit back arrogantly and ignorantly by people who don’t even know just how much these advocates sacrificed to do their “dirty work.”
“Human rights work is a full-time thankless job. Many of us could be somewhere else earning so much more. But we chose this. If you only knew what many of us have given up and sacrificed so that there is someone to do the dirty work FOR YOU. Yet you throw that dirt on our faces with your arrogance and ignorance,” de Vera wrote.
“Ganun ba ang kapangyarihan ng utak niyo at alam niyo lahat ng achievements at lahat ng shortcomings namin kaya’t ganun na lang kayo makasingil sa amin pag may issue na nakaka-bother sa inyo? Walang masama sa paniningil kung may pagkukulang naman talaga. Pero hinay-hinay lang sa yabang at research-research din nang konti para hindi nagmumukhang tanga,” de Vera added.
One of his commenters brought up the fact that some people even accused them of staying silent during former President Benigno Aquino III’s time, adding that human rights advocates like them “have never ever been silent.”