Ex-CHR head gets int'l award for political courage

MANILA, Philippines – Etta Rosales, former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), received an award for "special political courage" from the international group Progressive Alliance (PA), Akbayan said on Saturday, November 18.

Rosales, the first recipient of the award, was an activist and organizer during the dictatorship of the late Ferdinand Marcos. She represented Akbayan in Congress from 1998 to 2007. She is also a victim of human rights abuses during the Marcos years.

Among her priority bills include human rights compensation and anti-discrimination. An anti-discrimination bill recently passed the House on 3rd reading.

According to PA, Rosales is "one of the staunchest critics against President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs." Her contribution to human rights in the Philippines was cited in the award given to her. 

Rosales, incumbent chairman emeritus of Akbayan, said upon receiving the award: "This recognition gives us hope and courage as we continue to defend our shared visions for greater equality without discrimination, for human dignity, gender justice and human rights, for freedom and solidarity among our peoples and those of the world."

"Things get better when an informed and empowered citizenry rises up to defend its rights that are being trampled upon and the democratic institutions it restored from the ouster of dictatorial rule," she said in her speech.

Rosales headed the CHR during the Aquino administration.

The Germany-based PA is a collection of social-democratic and progressive political parties from all over the world. Akbayan is a member of PA. 

Some of its members have visited the Philippines before to check on alleged human rights abuses in Duterte's drug war. Duterte confused the PA group as members of the European Union, leading the former Davao mayor to threaten diplomats from the European bloc. – Rappler.com