Makabayan bloc seeks probe on death of human-rights activist Zara Alvarez | Inquirer News

Makabayan bloc seeks probe on death of human-rights activist Zara Alvarez

/ 12:21 PM August 26, 2020

JUSTICE Calls for justice are displayed at the wake of slain activist Zara Alvarez in Bacolod City before her remains were brought to her hometown Cadiz City. —File photo / GINO LOPEZ, CONTRIBUTOR

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives’ Makabayan bloc is calling for an investigation into the death of activist leader Zara Alvarez, saying that her killing is “a threat to all human-rights workers.”

House Resolution No. 1145 filed on August 18, a copy of which was sent to the media on Wednesday, directs the committee on human rights to conduct the said investigation, in aid of legislation.


The House’s Makabayan bloc includes Bayan Muna representatives Eufemia Cullamat, Carlos Isagani Zarate, and Ferdinand Gaite; Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro; and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago.


According to the lawmakers, the killing of Alvarez and other political activists in the country came after multiple threats and pronouncements by President Rodrigo Duterte against human-rights defenders and critics.

The Makabayan bloc said Alvarez is the 13th worker of human-rights group Karapatan slain under the Duterte administration.

“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, killings of activists and critics continue to intensify, even as varying levels of community quarantine and curfews are in place,” the lawmakers pointed out in the resolution.

“Despite an increased number of checkpoints and law enforcement authorities deployed all over the country to enforce quarantine measures, motorcycle-riding gunmen out to kill activists seemingly continue to roam freely,” they added.

Police said that unidentified perpetrators gunned down Alvarez along Sta. Maria Street in Eroreco, Brgy. Mandalagan, Bacolod City on August 17.

Her death came after peasant leader and peace consultant Randy Echanis was also gunned down on August 10.


“It is imperative for members of Congress, as representatives of our people, to defend the rights of our people and check on excesses and violations committed against them,” the lawmakers said.

“Laws and rules should serve the interest of our proper and abuses against it should be held to account. Congress is duty-bound to conduct investigations to be able to uphold justice and protect the people against abuses especially during extraordinary times such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” they added.

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines has also earlier denounced the killing of Alvarez.

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ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy hit President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration for the brazen killings of human rights defenders such as Alvarez, among others, that have happened under its watch.

TAGS: Alvarez, Echanis, Human rights, Rodrigo Duterte, Zara Alvarez

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