SAN FRANCISCO — From the east coast and now in the west, human rights advocate Cristina Palabay has been informing communities across the United States about what she calls the humanitarian crisis in the Philippines.
Palabay is the secretary general of the Filipino human rights coalition, Karapatan, and has participated in numerous rapid response, fact-finding, and humanitarian missions to document and investigate human rights violations, while fighting for justice of those who fell victim to such violations.
Palabay cites the 27,000 and rising death toll due to president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, as well as the death of over 200 activists in 2018 alone.
While in the Bay Area, Palabay will be meeting with the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and Democratic presidential candidate and California Senator Kamala Harris.
“To call for a congressional hearing on the situation of human rights defenders in the Philippines, which will involve cases of Lila de Lima, Maria Ressa, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples and the other attacks on community-based activists.”
Palabay will also try to persuade these U.S. elected leaders to stop all funding of military aid to the Philippines.
Despite the current positive relationship between Duterte and Trump, she remains optimistic due to past investigations that has stopped U.S. funding.
“As long as there a strong grassroots campaign both here in the U.S. and in the Philippines, a hearing or a possible reduction of military aid is very possible.”
Palabay’s tour was made possible through Amnesty International — which has a history of calling out human rights violations that date back to the Marcos dictatorship.