The National Screening Committee for this year’s search for the 2023 Gawad Karapatang Pantao by the Commission on Human Rights has adjudged a Baguio councilor as winner in the Gawad Gabay Karapatan category.
Councilor Arthur L. Allad-iw was awarded the Gawad Gabay Karapatan Award, which is conferred to an individual or group of individuals working within the government agency whose program has exceptionally contributed to the furtherance of human rights policies.
Allad-iw received the award on Dec. 10 at Hive Hotel, Quezon City during the culmination of the 2023 National Human Rights Consciousness Week with the theme “Dignidad, Kalayaan at Katarungan para sa lahat”.
In his acceptance speech, Allad-iw shared the recognition with the members of the Baguio city council led by Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, and the whole city government who he said have been supportive of legislations pertaining to human rights.
He thanked the CHR for the recognition, as well as his family for being supportive of his advocacy despite being always dragged every time he is “red-tagged” or “demonized” in his works as a public servant and as a human rights advocate.
He also thanked the person who nominated him to the search committee.
“Likewise to the mother who gave birth after writing my nomination, as she felt I am worthy of her nomination, and on her initiative and (done) pro bono,” Allad-iw said.
The councilor hopes the same award would be given to civil society organizations and individuals who as well are engaged in human rights advocacy.
“There is no more worthy than the cause on human rights as patronized by the late former Senator Jose Diokno. As an advocate, I aspire for a situation where we stand as human beings by enjoying these rights and freedoms, whether as an individual, sectors, or as a people, I believe this is the reason why a state is mandated to protect these rights, as such is provided in our Constitution, and even in international instruments, where our government is a signatory, and a member of the United Nations,” the councilor said.
He said even in times of war, these rights and basic needs must be respected, particularly those of the non-combatants such as the children, civilians, including journalists and neutral institutions and their personnel; the hospitals, schools, and churches.
“I am very supportive of the strict observance of the international humanitarian law in the case of the Gaza and Israel conflict, like allowing the entry of basic needs and services for the civilians and neutral institutions in those war-torn areas. I also support the call for ceasefire between the conflicting parties to assess the damage and reconstruction in the area for the best interests of the civilians,” Allad-iw added.
He was awarded along with Shierwin Taay of Region 3, Gawad Bantay Karapatan awardee; Ma. Josefina Belmonte of the National Capital Region, Gawad Tanggol Karapatan awardee; and Mary Marjorie Martin-Chan, Gawad Sulong Karapatan awardee. – Hanna C. Lacsamana