ADVOCACY/CAMPAIGNS: TUKAYO. Human Rights Campaign against Impunity by Congress and The Asia Foundation

Do you have a ka-tukayo? How often do you happen to run into people named the same as yours? Do you find it annoying, creepy or weird? To me it scarcely an issue but for some it may not. When you have a loved one who has been a victim of impunity there’s no slight chance you will even find it amusing. Human nature being what it is, crimes do happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere, even in the comfort of one’s own home.

Impunity is committing a crime and getting away with no care or heed for such consequences. It’s a simple exemption from punishment. The Asia Foundation and the House of Representatives  headed by Deputy Speaker Representative Lorenzo R. Tañada III and Bayan Muna Party List Representative Neri Javier Colmenares launched the TUKAYO: a Human Rights Campaign against Impunity advocacy at the House of Representatives.

Tukayo” is a native term that means someone with the same name as you. In deeper sense, you don’t just share the same name; you share the same human rights. The press launch of Tukayo by the human rights advocates is geared to bring justice to the murdered, tortured and the disappeared.

Hand in hand, the campaign is for the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) to be signed by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III so they can bring justice to unresolved cases and help protect others from future killings.

In a speech delivered by Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, “Impunity is committing a crime and getting away with it. If we don’t speak up, we are like letting them commit the crime.” Said campaign is also supported by the Commission on Human Rights, NGOs, various public and private sectors as they call for justice to those victims and for the families who were left behind and are still left in the dark crying for help.

Members of the Congress, Commision on Human Rights and Asia Foundation unveiled the Tukayo: Human Rights Campaign against Impunity Signature Wall.

Atty. Carol Mercado, Director of Law and Human Rights in the Philippines said, “Maybe, there is another person with a name similar as yours who has disappeared or who has been a victim of torture. We are interconnected.”  She further explains, “Our goal is to raise awareness among Filipinos about impunity. We want them to speak up and pay attention. We want them to be aware and demand action.”

Deputy Speaker Representative Lorenzo R. Tañada III being interviewed by Atom Araullo of ABS-CBN

The Commission on Human Rights has documented 1,001 victims of alleged extrajudicial killings from 2001-2009, while the civil society group, Karapatan, reported 1,188 victims of extrajudicial killings, 205 victims of enforced disappearances, and 1,028 incidents of torture for the same period. The targets were predominantly political activists, grassroots organizers, and members of media.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Deputy Speaker Representative Lorenzo Tañada III said he remains positive that the current administration will be more sympathetic and eagerly quick to respond to human rights issues such as this. He cited that even our President Noynoy Aquino had been a victim of this extrajudicial killing so everyone is hoping that it will be signed soon. “Ang kanyang mga karanasan ang gagabay sa kanya sa paggawa ng mga polisiya. Ika nga nila, si P-Noy ang poster boy ng human rights.” (Our President’s own experience will guide him in making policies. As others say, P-Noy is the poster boy of human rights),” Tañada added.

Tukayo: A Human Rights Campaign against Impunity Signature Wall showcased in the exhibit had holes and when you peeped into them, you'd see a short clip of re-enactments of  impunity cases. It was indeed short but the huge impact it made on me was not. It definitely moved me and somehow convinced me more that this campaign needed to be stabilized in the soonest time possible.

The advocates hope that President Aquino III will shed light on this advocacy campaign to prosecute human rights violators, promote and protect human rights of every Filipino citizen.

Nails aka Pens, KEWL!

How can people participate in the campaign?
Log on to  and sign on the virtual wall. The website was also launched as part of the exhibit and campaign. It contains a database of human rights victims and their case details. Visitors of the website may type their name in the search box and will be led to the profile of their namesake, granted if they have one, who has been a victim of human rights.

Human Rights will remain to be a solid mainstream issue. You as a citizen have the right to uphold your civil and political rights . Use it wisely and independently.  Join the victims' families in speaking up for your "katukayos". Cast your signatures now and be of help to our fellowmen who is crying out for true justice. Don’t let the guilty go unpunished.

For more information visit: 


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