ILOILO City – Human rights defenders in Panay island renewed their call for justice for Fernando Baldomero, town councilor and prominent human rights defender as they remembered his killing on July 5, 2010, nine years ago in Kalibo, Aklan.

“The family, friends and co-workers of Baldomero have to keep hoping that justice will eventually be obtained for his cruel death,” said Reylan Vergara, secretary general of human rights group Panay Alliance-Karapatan.

Then President Benigno Aquino III failed to give justice to Baldomero, despite his announcement in his first SONA that the killing of Baldomero was 50% solved. The killing earned Pnoy’s attention because it was the first extra-judicial killing under his regime, occurring just a few days after he took oath as president.

“The chance for justice seems dimmer in the present Duterte regime, with more human rights defenders being killed and persecuted,” said Vergara. “Yet, the defense and protection of human rights should continue, and with it the struggle for justice for the victims.”

Human rights defenders are now pushing for the enactment of a national law for the protection of human rights defenders.

Last month, the Iloilo City Council through a resolution endorsed Senate Bill 1699 and House Bill 1617 pending in Congress.

Baldomero, then Bayan Muna Aklan provincial coordinator was actively involved not only in the progressive partylist but also in many issues affecting the people. His service to the people of Aklan went beyond his being a councilor of Lezo town and extended to victims of human rights violations, the urban poor of Kalibo and other sectors.

Members of Samahan ng mga Ex-detainee Laban sa Detensyon at Arresto (SELDA), an association of former political prisoners said Fernando Baldomero will always be remembered for his courage in truly serving the people despite threats against his life. Baldomero was a member of Selda./www.panaytoday.net


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