Draft Philippine Declaration of Human and People’s Rights
December 10, 1990*
Adopted for submission to the Filipino People by the Third National Congress of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)1
The Filipino people stand at the turning point of Philippine history as the national crisis nears its critical moments. We are faced with the choice between the slow death offered by a failing neo-colonial system and the option of engaging in full-scale struggle for national and social liberation.
From a U.S. colony, the Philippines has only evolved into a neo-colony bereft of the substance of a sovereign state. From a totally backward and feudal society, it has only evolved into an underdeveloped one dominated by foreign capital and its local cohorts. National and social liberation remains the clarion call of the Filipino people.
The gains of the Filipino people during the 1898 Revolution were bartered away when the Philippines was conquered by the United States which perpetuated the status of the Philippines as a colony and thereafter, upon independence, as a neo-colony. The gains of the democratic struggle against the Marcos dictatorship is now being traded in exchange for foreign support.
The maintenance of feudal and monopoly capitalist structure has aggravated the problem of structural violence, poverty, and underdevelopment as well as heightened the national crisis. Consequently, these have spawned social unrest and revolution.
We live at a time when the exploitation of the oppressed nations by the neo-colonial powers go unabated; when the advanced capitalist countries and monopoly capitalist groups scramble for global domination and markets. We also live at a time when people after people, nation after nation, and country after country, declare their fundamental right to determine their own destiny.
In short, we live at a time when colonialism is retreating in vast areas of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Inspired by the historic documents of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples,2 upholding the creed of peace and development based on social justice, and alarmed by the present systematic violation of human rights, we hereby declare that the Filipino people have a right to self-determination and to break free from all forms of domination, from foreign intervention to feudal bondage
We support the role played by the people’s organizations and non-governmental organizations in the establishment of alternative social formations, especially under conditions of government neglect, incapacity, or failure to provide for the needs of the majority of the people.
We adopt this Philippine Declaration of Human and People’s Rights and proclaim the legitimacy of the people’s struggle for national and social liberation.
Section I. Basic Principles and Non-Derogable Rights
Article 1. Everyone shall enjoy the right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of life without due process of law.
Article 2. Everyone shall be free from inhuman, cruel, or degrading treatment or punishment and torture.
Article 3. Everyone shall be free from all forms of slavery and involuntary servitude.
Article 4. Everyone shall enjoy the right to freedom of movement and to live or return to one’s country of origin.
Article 5. No one shall be held guilty for any criminal offence by virtue of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence, under domestic and international law, at the time of the commission of the act.
Article 6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7. Everyone has the right to freedoms of belief, thought, conscience, and religion.
Article 8. Everyone has duties to the community in which the free and full development of one’s personality and humanity is possible.
Article 9. The Filipino people have the right of economic, social, cultural, and political self-determination.
Article 10. It is the duty of the government to ensure the respect and protection of the economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights of the Filipino people.
Article 11. Non-derogable rights as recognized under international law shall be respected at all times.
Article 12. All other duties and rights set forth in declarations and treaties on human rights shall be respected.
Article 13. In view of the foregoing, the Government has the duty to ratify, respect and implement all international human rights agreements of the United Nations and related treaties of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Section II. Right to Existence
Article 1. The Filipino people have the right to existence.
Article 2. Everyone shall be protected from involuntary disappearance, salvaging,3 massacre, genocide, and the sentence of death without final judgment of court.
Section III. Right to Environment
Article 1. The integrity of the human beings with the natural world shall be recognized and respected.
Article 2. The Filipino people have the right to the conservation, protection, and development of its environment.
Article 3. Natural resources shall be held in common.
Article 4. The government must be engaged in sustainable and environmentally sound national development program.
Article 5. The integrity of ancestral domains and the right of indigenous peoples to the natural resources in their communal ancestral domains shall be respected.
Article 6. Endangered species and habitat, zoological and biological wild life, and biological diversity of all life forms shall be preserved.
Article 7. The government must enact laws and strictly enforce a comprehensive forest and log ban policy.
Article 8. Virgin forests, coral reefs, national parks, watersheds, wildlife sanctuaries, and all other similar areas must be protected.
Article 9. Environmental laws must be strictly enforced and violations must be met with stiff penalties and sanctions.
Section IV. Social Rights
Article 1. Discrimination based upon sex, race, color, disability, religion, creed, or origins is an offence to human dignity.
Article 2. The equality of the sexes shall be observed in the economic, political, social, cultural, and family life.
Article 3. Gay women and men have the right to sexual preference, to be free from discrimination by virtue of such sexual and other preferences, and to equal pay for equal work.
Article 4. Students have the right to have a nationalist, scientific, democratic, and mass-oriented education, to organize and participate in groups, student councils, and student publications, to form groups beyond the four walls of the classrooms, to campaign against unfair tuition fee increase and commercialization of education, to freedom from arbitrary suspension, to participate in the policy making in schools, and to participate in the struggle of other sectors of the society.
Article 5. Disabled persons have equal right to employment, occupational rehabilitation, social resettlement, and freedom from genocide.
Article 6. Aged persons have the right to social security and freedom from capital punishment.
Article 7. Aliens have the right to territorial asylum, to freedom from collective expulsion, and to family reunion.
Section V. Civil and Political Rights
Article 1. The Filipino people have the right to determine its own political status.
Article 2. The Filipino people have the right to be free from foreign interference, aggression, domination, and intervention.
Article 3. Foreign military bases and nuclear weapons shall be removed without conditions and no other foreign bases and nuclear weapons shall be allowed hereafter.
Article 4. The Filipino people has the right to participate in a genuine democratic government based on people’s participation and not one controlled by oligarchs, big business, and landlords.
Article 5. The State shall pursue a non-aligned and independent foreign policy.
Article 6. All unequal treaties shall be abrogated.
Article 7. The U.S.-devised Low Intensity Conflict, “total war”, and “Total Approach” and other anti-people counter-insurgency policies must be abandoned.
Article 8. Everyone charged with a crime has the right to the presumption of innocence and due process of law.
Article 9. No one shall be subjected to persecution, brutal dispersal of mass action, illegal “warrantless arrests and searches”, illegal arrests and detention, physical and psychological abuse, repressive laws, indiscriminate setting up of checkpoints, torture, zoning operations, arbitrary and summary ejections of urban poor dwellers and the demolition of their abode, hamletting, forced evacuations, “population control” and other grave violations of civil and political rights.
Article 10. All kinds of paramilitary groups, including vigilantes, fanatical groups and private armies, must be disbanded.
Section VI. Economic Rights
Article 1. All workers have the right to employment and choice of employment. The government has the responsibility to ensure the availability of decent employment opportunities.
Article 2. The Filipino people have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right, the people choose its course of development without foreign interference.
Article 3. The Filipino people have the right to freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources.
Article 4. The government shall protect all rights of workers as recognized under the United Nations System in general and the International Labor Organization in particular.
Article 5. Economic blockade, food blockade, and “resource control” shall be forbidden.
Article 6. The Filipino people oppose subservient debt-management strategy. All foreign debts that did not benefit the Filipino people must be repudiated.
Article 7. Workers have the right to humane working conditions and working hours, fair wages and equal remuneration for equal work, profit-sharing, an adequate and decent standard of living, join trade unions and other labor organizations, join mass actions and street demonstrations, strike and call for Welgang Bayan, rest and file official absence with pay, and obtain health and social security insurance.
Article 8. Peasants have the right to own the land they till, to freedom from militarization, to secure a genuine agrarian reform program, and to enjoy freedom from landlord and feudal oppression.
Article 9. Fisherfolks have the right to access to fishing grounds, to protection from foreign incursions, to genuine aquatic reforms, and to preservation and protection of communal fishing grounds.
Article 10. Migrant workers have the same rights enjoyed by workers in their host countries consistent with the International Labor Organization conventions.
Section VII. Cultural Rights
Article 1. A genuine national language shall be promoted. Regional languages shall be respected and encouraged.
Article 2. The cultures of indigenous peoples shall be preserved and protected.
Article 3. A mass-based, democratic, scientific, and nationalist educational system shall be put into effect.
Article 4. Education shall be given priority in the national budget.
Article 5. Nationalist consciousness shall be developed to replace colonial and neo-colonial consciousness.
Article 6. Religious freedom and liberty shall be respected.
Article 7. Science and technology shall be developed, popularized, and put into effect to benefit the people.
Section VIII. Women’s Rights
Article 1. Women have the right to equal pay for equal work.
Article 2. Women have the right to maternity leave with pay and day care services.
Article 3. Women have the right to freedom from gender inequality.
Article 4. Women have the right to form women’s organization and to participate in the struggle of women against patriarchal society.
Article 5. Women have the right to freedom from discrimination.
Article 6. Women have the right to equality of the spouses.
Article 7. Women have the right to protection from exploitation, sexual assault, battering, and all other forms of abuses.
Section IX. Children’s Rights
Article 1. Children have the right to affection, love and understanding.
Article 2. Children have the right to adequate nutrition and medical care.
Article 3. Children have the right to access to education.
Article 4. Children have the right to full opportunity for play and recreation.
Article 5. Children have the right to a name and a nationality.
Article 6. Children have the right to special care, if handicapped or abandoned.
Article 7. Children have the right to be among the first to receive relief in times of disaster.
Article 8. Children have the right to be brought up in the spirit of peace and universal kinship.
Article 9. Children, legitimate or illegitimate, have the right to enjoy these rights regardless of race, color, sex, religion, nationality, or social origin.
Article 10. Children have the right to secure a peaceful environment conducive to growth.
Article 11. Children have the right to be protected from exploitation, incest, battering, sexual abuse, harassment, and all other forms of abuses.
Article 12. Child labor in all forms shall be forbidden. Violations shall be met with stiff penalties and sanctions.
Section X. Indigenous People’s Rights
Article 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to existence as distinct peoples free from forced assimilation and integration, ethnocide and genocide.
Article 2. Indigenous peoples have the right to political and economic self-determination.
Article 3. Indigenous peoples have the right to equality with other Filipino people.
Article 4. Indigenous peoples have the right to preserve their culture, language, tradition, and belief.
Article 5. Indigenous peoples shall be free from forced evacuation, displacement, and dislocation.
Article 6. Indigenous peoples have the right to protect, own, manage, and defend their ancestral domains.
Article 7. Indigenous peoples have the right to conservation, protection and improvement of their environment.
Article 8. Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in the process of decision making in all levels of government.
Article 9. Indigenous peoples have the right to a democratic government.
Article 10. Indigenous peoples have the right to freedom from discrimination.
Section XI. Political Prisoners’ Rights
Article 1. Political prisoners have the right to freedom from torture and incommunicado detention.
Article 2. Political prisoners have the right to be registered as political prisoners.
Article 3. Political prisoners have the right to remain silent, to competent counsel of their own choice, to due process, and to speedy and fair trial.
Article 4. Political prisoners have the right to be separated from common criminals.
Article 5. Political prisoners have the right to adequate ventilation, lighting, heating, sanitary facilities and other necessities for health and hygiene.
Article 6. Political prisoners have the right to clothing and bedding.
Article 7. Political prisoners have the right to hygiene, adequate food and water.
Article 8. Political prisoners have the right to suitable exercise and sports.
Article 9. Political prisoners have the right to medical services and access to health workers of their own choice.
Article 10. Political prisoners have the right to freedom from corporal punishment, and all forms of cruel and inhuman treatment or punishment.
Article 11. Political prisoners have the right to contact family and friends.
Article 12. Political prisoners who are pregnant, nursing mothers, elderly, minor, sick, sexually abused, tortured, and one of the detained spouses shall be released on humanitarian grounds.
Article 13. Witnesses and relatives of political prisoners shall be protected from all forms of harassment.
Section XII. Rights in Situation of Internal Armed Conflict
Article 1. In times of armed conflict between government and rebel forces, non-derogable human rights shall remain in effect.
Article 2. In situations of internal armed conflict, inhuman or degrading treatment, murder, torture, psychological or corporal punishment, collective punishments, taking of civilian hostages, acts of terrorism, enforced prostitution, slavery, pillage, and threats to commit the above acts shall be forbidden at all times.
Article 3. Combatants shall respect, recognize, and observe the human rights of the people, especially the non-derogable rights.
Article 4. It is forbidden to kill or injure a surrendering enemy combatant or one who is hors de combat.
Article 5. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its power.
Article 6. Communities and non-combatants shall at all times be spared from the effects of armed conflict.
Article 7. Human rights, health, religious, legal, relief, and development workers and their organizations shall continue to carry out their duties free from harassment and to attend to the needs of all including parties to the conflict. Neutrality of health and religious workers with regards to their humanitarian duties shall be recognized.
Article 8. Churches and religious houses are to be considered as sanctuaries and shall be free from harassment and persecution.
Article 9. Children shall not be recruited into the ranks of the combatants nor be made to take part in armed conflict.
Section XIII. Guarantees and Sanctions
Article 1. Any disregard for the provision of this Declaration constitutes a violation of the duties of the Government and of the interests and rights of the Filipino people.
Article 2. In the event of the government’s disregard for the rights of the people, the Filipino people have the right to enforce them by political struggle.
Article 3. All unequal treaties and agreements concluded without taking into consideration the principles set out in this Declaration and which endanger the rights of the Filipino people shall have no effect on the Filipino people.
Article 4. Violation of the fundamental rights of the Filipino people shall constitute an international crime, war crime, or crime against humanity for which the perpetrator shall carry personal penal liabilities.
Article 5. In the event of serious violations of the rights of the people, the Filipino people have the right to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny, oppression, exploitation, and domination.
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) offers this Draft Philippine Declaration of Human and People’s Rights to all sectors of our people as a common framework for national unity and action during this time of national crisis. We welcome any and all suggestions and amendments to further develop and enrich this document. To this end, PAHRA will carry out a program of consultation with various sectors of our people. We ardently hope that every Filipino patriot takes to heart the human rights of our people and makes these the basis for a consistent advocacy and service. In our view, this is a requisite for our national survival and a just peace in our land.
* The text of this Declaration is taken from Reynaldo R. Ty, editor, Truth and Freedom – Understanding and Teaching Human Rights (Quezon city: Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, 1991).
1. Grammatical and spelling errors in the original text have been corrected in this text. Additional notes are inserted for clarification purposes.
2. Adopted by the participants in the international conference organized by the Permanent People’s Tribunal at Algiers, Algeria on 4 July 1976. The document is also known as the Declaration of Algiers. The Permanent People’s Tribunal is an international opinion tribunal, independent from any State authority, which publicly and analytically examines cases regarding violations of human rights and rights of peoples. See www.algerie-tpp.org/tpp/en/algeria_tpp.htm.
3. “Salvaging” refers to extra-judicial killing under the current human rights terminology.