Human Rights Day soundtrack

05:01 AM November 29, 2017

After President Duterte threatened to launch a crackdown against legal mass organizations for allegedly conspiring with communist insurgents, don’t expect the country’s human rights situation to improve any time soon. With the drug war in place and the military calling the shots in Mindanao, let alone the political persecution of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Filipinos have every reason to believe that the President is setting the stage toward a Marcosian dictatorship disguised as “revolutionary government.”

In a society where impunity reigns, music plays an important role in exposing state repression and encouraging collective resistance. Although rousing the people’s consciousness—especially a nation blinded by fanaticism—is a long and difficult process, becoming familiar with some of the songs and artists is a good place to start.


So here are 10 local songs in commemoration of the upcoming International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.

“Pahayagan” by Musikang Bayan. Penned by Empiel Palma, this song is a gut-wrenching depiction of the rampant extrajudicial killings in the country.


“Batingaw” by Asin. An evocative song from the “Karapatang Pantao” compilation album that calls for respect of human rights.

“Hindi Tulad ng Ibon” by Joel Costa Malabanan. Eight years after the Maguindanao massacre, this song remains relevant today as journalist killings continue under the Duterte administration.

“Warning” by Chikoy Pura. As the title suggests, the song is a warning against state-sanctioned killings and torture of unarmed activists and civilians.

“Payatas” by Musikang Bayan. Danny Fabella wrote this powerful song for the “Anak ng Bayan” album that tackles the urban poor struggle for decent housing.

“Me in the Middle” by Wuds. A punk anthem from one of the forefathers of Filipino punk scene, it depicts the plight of the internal refugees or bakwit.

“Ikaw na may Baril” by Joey Ayala. Another song from the “Karapatang Pantao” album, it reminds law enforcers and the military that they carry a greater burden of responsibility.

“Sag od Lupao” by Buklod. Susan Fernandez-Magno sang this heartrending tribute to the victims of Lupao massacre in Nueva Ecija, where the state security forces under former president Corazon Aquino murdered 17 peasants in 1987.


“Halina” by Jess Santiago. A protest song about the lives of three different individuals—a worker, a peasant and an urban poor—who were all victims of human rights violations.

“Minsan Karaniwang Tao” by The Jerks. From “The Jerks Live” album, this song tells how repeated human rights abuses can transform a common man from submission to rage.

We can’t expect a proud fascist like President Duterte to uphold human rights and dignity. It is therefore our responsibility as members of this society to fulfill this.

Karapatang pantao, ipaglaban!

DANIEL ALOC, Gardenia Valley, Molino, Bacoor, Cavite, [email protected]

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TAGS: Daniel Aloc, human-rights abuses, Inquirer letters, International Human Rights Day, legal mass organizations, Mindanao martial law, revolutionary government, war on drugs
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