BY ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY — In a phone interview with the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Mountain Province, they announced that a Human Rights defenders group of women was just formed on July 19 in the municipality of Sagada with an objective to monitor violations on human rights and popularize the human rights campaign in the municipality.
Marcelo Daweg, chairperson of CPA-MP and District 2 coordinator of Katribu, said that the idea of having women HR defenders group in Sagada was first suggested by the women in the said area on March this year during a peace forum which was attended by Raffy Baylosis of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and representatives from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPh). Having an HR group for women was deemed necessary at that time in order to become a Quick Response Team (QRT) when there are human rights violations (HRVs) especially when it involves women, Daweg added.
Katribu Partylist, Tangguyob Peoples Center and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) facilitated the formation of the group. The formation activity was attended by 24 women from Sagada and one woman observer from Bontoc who is also part of the Intercommunity training project of the AIPP in empowering indigenous women in traditional customary institutions.
The said 24 women were all conveners of the group. Daweg further said that from the conveners, women voted for their officers. Josephine Lay-os from Bangaan of Northern Sagada is the chairperson with Josephine Say-awen of Patay, Poblacion as her co-chairperson. Also, Annie Sumedka from Barangay Ankileng is the secretary-general.
The officers and all the conveners have the responsibility to document HRVs by filling out fact sheets and formulating affidavits. They shall also lead fact finding missions (FFM) related to such violations. Part of their responsibility is to popularize among the indigenous women and the community as a whole the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL).
Daweg said that right after the formation of the group, they already planned their activities on the commemoration of the human rights day on December 10 and the women’s rights day on March 8 next year. One significant comment from the group is their appreciation on the formation in order to have a group defending their human rights because a lot of women in the municipality are not aware of having such rights.
Jane Faith Coteng, one of the staff of AIPP who was present during the formation of the group, said that the women were grateful that the group was organized and given the orientation on human rights.
It is to their advantage said the women to have a foundation to share and train their communities on their rights as women and as a people. # nordis.net