Ateneans co-present the Youth Agenda for Human Rights and Democracy
26 Apr 2022
On the Day of Valor- 9 April 2022, youth representatives from all over the country came together to present the Youth Agenda for Human Rights and Democracy through press conferences and youth-powered activities in key regional areas nationwide and in Metro Manila.
The Youth Agenda for Human Rights and Democracy serves as the youth sector's manifesto for addressing the most pressing human rights and democracy issues surrounding the 2022 National and Local Elections. Ateneans Kyle Lagdameo (4 AB Development Studies), Raphael Canalita (3 BS Psychology), and Angela Maree Encomienda (4 AB Sociology) were among the speakers at the press conference held in Iago's Restaurant in Quezon City.
Lagdameo and Encomienda represented YouthVote Philippines, a coalition of youth and youth-serving organizations focused on democratic engagement through electoral participation and post-election initiatives. Canalita represented The Initiative PH, a non-profit organization that synergizes young people's development initiatives for communities experiencing poverty, exclusion, vulnerability, and insecurity.
"In the past 6 years, the current administration undermined human rights and demonized human rights defenders, pushing the narrative that human rights need to be sacrificed for survival and progress," Lagdameo says, broaching the topic of the drug war, extrajudicial killings, the Anti-Terrorism Act, and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Since 2020, Lagdameo has been addressing the struggles of youth organizations whose high school- and college-age members faced red-tagging and related threats.
"We, the youth, will never surrender our rights, sovereignty, territory, and freedom to foreign powers who coerce us with armed forces or exploitative deals, or to corrupt Filipinos," Canalita says, referring to the defense of the West Philippine Sea. In addition, Canalita emphasizes the protection of coastal communities and natural resources, demonstrating his organization's commitment to community development and climate action.
“Nasa amin ang kapangyarihan. We have the numbers, the drive, and the stake. We are the 56%, and in this coming election, we have the power to make meaningful change happen. Today, we, the youth, assert our power to achieve the nation we want, need, and deserve by upholding our shared humanity and dignity as a Nation of the Brave," Encomienda says, urging the youth to show up to and vote conscientiously in the 9 May elections. Moreover, her present work with YouthVote Philippines pushes the youth to engage in political participation other than electoral participation, asserting that the elections are not the end-all-be-all of Philippine democracy.
The Youth Agenda for Human Rights and Democracy also calls for the strengthening of Human Rights-Martial Law Legacy Education; the passage of the Campus Press Freedom Act, Magna Carta for Journalists, and the Freedom of Information Law; the enactment of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act; the advancement of a Comprehensive Public Health Act; the implementation of a National Transport Policy; the end of contractualization and enactment of a National Minimum Wage; the termination of coal-powered and environmentally destructive infrastructure projects; the development of a national Climate Justice framework and local Climate Change Adaptation Plans; the passage of an Alternative Mining Act; the execution of the Students Rights and Welfare Law; the junking of CHED Memo No. 20 that removes Filipino and Literature in our tertiary education and DepEd Order 20-2014 that removed Philippine History subject in high school; the expansion of Knowledge Development Centers (KDC) and Schools for Living Tradition (SLT) and the passage of a Creative Industries and Cultural Workers Law; the passage of the Divorce Bill and SOGIE Equality Bill; the implementation of the SK Reform Law; and the passage of the Anti-Political Dynasty Law; among others.
ABS-CBN and CNN Philippines covered the Quezon City press conference. DAKILA initiated the press conferences and other activities through its Active Vista Center in partnership with the Filipino Society of Documentary Filmmakers (FilDocs), Cinema Centenario, Rappler, and We The Future PH. It is supported by the Purin Film Fund, Inter-Guild Alliance, and the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.
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