A Philippine Human Rights NGO providing Psychosocial Services and Rehabilitation to Internally Displaced Persons and Survivors of Torture and Organized Violence.

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BALAY's Stand Point on the 2019 National Elections

As an organization of human rights defenders, Balay  endorses the following  10-point agenda for the 2019 national  election along with their critical aspects  which,  from its perspective, could be used as a yardstick by voters in making an informed decision on who among the candidates to support and whom to reject.

From a human  rights standpoint, power should not be given to any politician who will only serve to perpetuate violence,  instil a climate of fear, sow discord in public administration  and justify it as populist politics. Neither should  authority to govern and craft public policy be accorded to those who would only promote despotism and dynastic rule,  keep  the  wide  economic and political disparity and sustain the elitist power differential in the country. Governance is too precious to be left alone in the hands of those who seek to erase social justice provisions from the fundamental law of the land, and deliver our national patrimony, economy, and sovereignty at the portals of  geopolitical hegemons.

With these guidelines,  Balay encourages organizations and individual advocates to take part in the effort to  promote a meaningful discourse so that the public could elect the next set of public servants with the human rights perspective in mind.  National and local candidates are likewise urged to take these agenda as part of their advocacy and policy for governance.


1. A governance platform that adheres to the tenets of human rights

Critical Positions:

  • Has not legitimized, perpetuated, or condoned  human rights violations in the past nor at present.
  • Neither supports nor defends the Marcos dictatorship and his martial law regime
  • Not associated with the legacy of other past administrations convicted of plunder and those  who  have extended their stay in power due to electoral manipulation
  • Supports the prosecution of the Marcoses for their ill gotten wealth, corruption, and assaults on human rights
  • Opposes the restriction, suppression, if not open hostilities,  against  human rights defenders and  critics of the administration
  • Opposes death penalty, the deadly war on drugs, the lowering of the minimum age of criminal liability (MACR), and the violent assaults against children at risk and children in conflict with the law (CICL)
  • Supports the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act
  • Deplores misogyny- the vulgar dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women – and the discrimination and oppression of persons who belong to the (or LGBT+) community
  • Supports the moves to strengthen the Commission on Human Rights as an independent constitutional commission.
  • Has not been implicated in any acts of corruption or abuse of authority
  • Does not support the perpetuation of political dynasties nor the perpetuation in power of the elites, warlords, political clans, and despots through a self-serving constitutional change
  • Supports the enactment of the IDP Protection Act, and laws that promote disaster risk reduction and management,  especially among vulnerable communities


2. A government that respects and abides by the international standards on human rights

Critical Positions:

  • Disagrees with the withdrawal of Philippines from the International Criminal Court or ICC
  • Adheres to and respects the Philippine human rights treaty obligations (e.g. Convention against Torture, ICCPR, CEDAW, ILO Conventions, etc.)
  • Agrees to take serious consideration of the recommendations of the treaty bodies such as the Universal Periodic Review and the Committee against Torture
  • Supportive of the OPCAT and the  establishment National Preventive Mechanism


3. Justice that is accessible for all, especially for the poor, the deprived, and the oppressed

Critical Positions:

  • Promotes restorative justice in the enactment of laws that seek to improve the Philippine justice system
  • Supports the enactment of  laws that seek to promote the humane safekeeping and development of persons deprived of liberty
  • Respects and support the rights of indigenous peoples to ancestral domain and their protection from encroachment of projects and businesses inimical to their survival and development
  • Supports legislations that seek to enhance reproductive health, maternal health care, and protect senior citizens and young people


4. Protection for the oppressed and the exploited.

Critical Positions:

  • Objects to the weaponization of law to suppress those who express critical views  to check the abuses of those in power (e.g. filing of cases to discourage democratic dissent)
  • Supports the aggressive investigation and prosecution of  persons in authority and their agents who intimidate, torture, or subject to forced disappearance especially the poor, the marginalized, and the exploited.


5. Protection for human rights defenders.

Critical Positions:

  • Supports the enactment of the Human Rights Defenders Law
  • Speaks up against attacks on human rights defenders
  • Promotes the exercise of freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly for redress of grievance
  • Fights against the harassment and attacks of  media personalities


6. A peaceful and secure society

Critical Positions:

  • Adheres to the principle of the primacy of the peace process in dealing with revolutionary organizations
  • Supports the fulfilment of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the full establishment of the BARMM
  • Promotes social justice and human security – not militarism - as means to discourage social violence and violent extremism,
  • Does not subscribe to a culture of violence, e.g. condemns rape jokes and the use of brutal violence in public policy such as the war on drugs
  • Discourages hate, prejudice, and labelling in the name of public safety and security 
  • Supports the promotion of peace and human rights education
  • Promotes the observance of the International Humanitarian Law and the Human Rights Law in situation of armed conflict or social violence.


7. Adequate, affordable, and sustainable food system, employment, and housing.

Critical Positions:

  • Protects the right of the people to food sovereignty
  • Discourages dependence on imported food products and agricultural supplies that tend to disfavour local producers and render the people’s survival dependent on foreign imports
  • Supports the full implementation of genuine agrarian reform, protects farmers and fishers from import liberalization, and discourages the conversion of land intended for food production and the ancestral domains
  • Promotes policies in favour of small and medium enterprises, and protects those engaged in the non-formal economic sector from abuses and exploitation
  • Supports policies that will strengthen the country’s national industrialization program
  • Agrees to a policy for durable terms of employment and supports policies that strengthen the right of workers and employees to unionize or form associations and to struggle for  living wages and fair workplace condition.
  • Promotes the protection and welfare of overseas Filipino workers and puts in check the influx of foreign workers in the Philippine labor market
  • Review the TRAIN law and stop the imposition of excise tax on petroleum products.


8. Healthy and safe environment

Critical Positions:

  • Helps in preventing or fighting climate change by promoting policies and programs for renewable energy and reducing the use of greenhouse gases
  • Supports the call against open pit mining and for stronger regulations against all mining and timber operations, particularly those involved in  large scale operations
  • Critical of so called development projects that are destructive of environment and natural resources, and protects the rights of the at risk indigenous communities
  • Puts in check the loan agreements contemplated by or already entered into between the Philippines and China – not only for their onerous provisions but for the selling out patrimonial assets of the country.


9. Inclusive development

Critical Positions:

  • Critical about the negative implications of the Train Law and Build Build  Build,  especially the vulnerable sector.
  • Strengthens social safety net for the poor; enhances the universal health law to expand coverage and include support for medicines
  • Prioritizes housing support programs for families not capable of having a house of their own, the dwellers in informal settlements and those in danger zones.
  • Supports the expansion of  the coverage of   the free education law as well as the Alternative Learning System program.


10. Protection against the intrusion and plunder of other countries

Critical Positions:

  • Defends the Philippines territorial integrity and national patrimony from the advances of foreign powers
  • Stands by the arbitral ruling under the UNCLOS
  • Asserts Philippine sovereignty using legal, political, and diplomatic pathways.