Fifty-four years ago, “in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations (UN), recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all,” the UN adopted the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESC). It is from this inherent dignity that economic, social and cultural rights are derived, and a person can only enjoy the freedom of fear and want if their lived reality allows everyone to enjoy their economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights.
The Philippines is among the countries who signed and ratified the said covenant without reservations.
The right to self-determination on which the Bangsamoro’s assertion of autonomy is hinged, the same right that allows every human being to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. As the Philippine government offers support and assistance to the Bangsamoro region during its period of transition, it also reaffirms its commitment to the ICESC as a signatory to the said covenant.
But this commitment to economic, social, and cultural rights is not limited only to the parties of the peace process but extends to every Filipino who shares in the inherent dignity and equal rights of all humanity. As we continue to face the pandemic, along with our continued struggle for freedom of fear and want, we must continue to demand the recognition and protection of our rights and act in solidarity with those who are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. When these are met, only then will we be able to fully honor our commitment to the ICESC and to our fellow Filipinos.