The 100 Million Filipinos and Our Basic Rights in the Philippines

We have the right to education, healthcare, security, good services and affordable quality products, among others. But do we understand really the extent of our rights to these things as a Filipino citizen? And our duty to abide by the laws of the land and to promote democracy, are we aware of that? Our privilege or special right to something, do we care about it?

It is our right to use or access public roads. These workers are improving the roads at the expense of the people, from the Road User's Tax.

It is our right to practice our religious beliefs in a peaceful and orderly manner. The police authorities are there to guide us in exercising this basic right. 


It was Abraham Lincoln, former president of the United States of America, who in one of his speeches said this:


“…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


I remember these same words quoted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in one of his speeches. That was long time ago, during his first-year term I believe. While I cannot remember what the event was, what is clear to my mind until today is that he’s fulfilling at his capacity and political will the meaning of that statement.


The Philippine Government of the People, by the People, for the People
Let me translate this into our native language:

"…ang pamahalaan na binubuo ng mga tao, ginawa ng mga tao, nilikha para sa mga tao, ay hindi dapat magdusa sa mundong ito.”

If every single Filipino, who’s at the right age, one who votes in particular, truly understand this, we are more than what we are today as a country. I am saying this not out of my personal beliefs or ambition. But I am saying this for there are obvious reasons visible in the streets or public places that people of the Philippines are not serious about when it comes to their faith in the government.

It is our right to demand for quality and affordable foods from the government. It is, thus, the government's role to ensure that our food are safe, affordable and accessible to all.

Every Filipino family has the basic right to healthy foods. It is the government's eye, thru agencies like DTI, DOH and NEDA, to monitor food safety, pricing and supply for the benefits of the Filipino people.


This blog post in whatever ways or means does not invite people to revolution. We have too much of that in this country. Our government is doing what it can for this nation to stand up, correct the mistakes of the past, and prosper in a way that every Filipino would benefit. And please don’t get it wrong when we say “government”. It is not alone the president who has the responsibility to run this country, but all the three branches – executive, legislative and judiciary. More than that, it is the “people” of the Philippines who has a collective power, right and duty to make the nation better - a line often misunderstood.

The question is this:

Are you aware of your rights, duties and privileges as a citizen of this country? 

This blog will tell you your basic rights and privileges, even if you are a tax payer or not, a voter or not, a politician or not, a government worker or just an ordinary citizen.


A Visit to the Capitol
Just this January, I happened to walk around the provincial capitol and nearby government institutions in Trece Martires City in Cavite where I live. Let me share with you some of the photos I captured from this walk as well as my observations of what’s going on here. 

Cavite Provincial Capitol in Trece Martires City

A View of Emilio Aguinaldo Monument Near the Provincial Capitol Building


Our Right to Government Vehicles
In this area of the capitol are where government buses are parked. These buses are mainly used to transport our government officials, workers and partners to and from the places their services or presence are needed. But did you know that even you can ride on vehicles like this? Note that this is owned by the government and the government is for the people. What are the chances you can ride on any of these buses? You might say not by any chance. Well, let me tell you how.



If you are a barangay official or someone who has a public role in your community, during conferences or conventions, you can ride on these buses. It is your basic privilege. The provincial capitol will set a schedule to pick you up from your place together with other officials. Now if you happen to have an official transaction with the government, say you are a member of a group who will represent your town in a provincial cultural event, these buses can serve as your main transport vehicle.



Here is a photo of a barangay patrol vehicle that happens to be in front of the Department of Public Works and Highways building during the time of capture. Patrols like this are driven by police officers or authorized security personnel who monitors the peace and order of the town or city. When untoward incidents happen, say typhoon or earthquake, this is one of the firsts to respond. You will have the chance to ride this patrol if you wish to evacuate for the sake of your safety and security.



These three guys walking in shirts printed with “Responder” and “Rescue”, they are people like you who are part of the government. Their role is to assist the higher authorities, police, fireman and soldiers, during the time of disasters and calamities. You can avail or ask for their help without paying them anything. They work for the people, us.



Here’s another vehicle that is soon to rove around the city of Trece Martires and nearby barangays. Visible from the windshield are the words:

“Ang Mula sa Bayan ay Para sa Bayan” 
What comes from the people is for the people. 



These service vehicles are for you. They are public utility vehicles, project of the government, that will give you a ride at a fee that is fair and right. I’ve seen about a hundred of these inside a parking space near the capitol. While I didn’t bother to ask the people there, I can sense that these will be distributed to different towns and barangays in Cavite to be used on everyday travel or commute by the people.

Like any other mayor, congressman, senator or elected leaders of the land, you have the right to ride on any government vehicles. It comes from us and it is for us. It is the privilege of the elected officials of the land to use those vehicles in rendering their services to the people.


Our Rights to Government Infrastructures
Government Center Building in this photo is mainly for the people to utilize on various events and occasions for their common good. You can step near or inside this building anytime you want, whether you have that intention to participate in any event or not. Any government building, you can go there and do your official transactions. This maybe unbelievable, but anyone can politely ask the government employees in charge of any government building that you want to rest for a while there if there is a personal need, say you have a health condition or that you were really exhausted from the heat of the sun.



Even the Legislative Building where laws are crafted and enacted, you can step inside and feel its ambiance. You can even ask water if you wish to. These buildings are from the people and must be used by the people. It is customary though that you have to ask permission or voice out your real intention when entering these kinds of premises. Otherwise, officials have also the right to deny your entry.



There are many government facilities that we only happen to visit when the time comes, and we need the services of the institution residing therein. Take for example this Cavite Center for Mental Health. This is a government-run institution and you can step inside the premise whether you have official transactions or none. This is just the same as the building of LTO, GSIS, BIR, DOH, NBI and other government agencies, you can visit them when you need their services.



The public schools, state-sponsored universities, government owned and controlled corporations, and any government organization, we have the right to enter those institutions. If the press or news reporters and their crews can step inside any of our government offices to do their jobs, we the people can do the same. It is ours, the people. It is the government employees privilege to use and maintain these infrastructures in the service of the Filipino people.


Our Rights to Police Services
The Police Station is normally known to us as a place where you can report crimes, where criminals are jailed and where police officers are doing their duties. Hear this. The Police Station is also a place where you can ask for assistance that has something to do with your safety, security and overall well-being. Through your barangay officers, you can approach police officers in these stations to check your areas for suspected law violators. Even you alone can go there and do it. In the police station is where you can talk to an officer about you needs in terms of justice, peace and order as a people of the Philippines. And what is obvious is that it is in the police stations where you can get this helpful information:





This photo below is a perfect example of what I am saying. This group of people asks the participation of police officers in their “National Bible Day” activity. If they were escorted upon official request, anybody can be rendered the same service.



The police officers are our friends – that should be the case. We should not be afraid of them just because a few them are criminals or law violators. They should be there to help us in anyway they can – for it is their duty. The police organization is created of the people, by the people, for the people. It is our basic right to be protected against unlawful acts and threats.


Our Rights to Good Services
We cannot deny or hide the fact that our government is full of bureaucracy, red tapes, political silos, corrupt politicians and fixers. These are what stops us from asserting our rights and privileges as a people of this government. We hesitate to do our official business with those government agencies for we may end up paying too much in exchange of should-be free services. We cancel or delay our visits to government institutions for the very reason that we may not be given that exemplary service we deserve. But this our government after all. We created it, so if it got broken, we must fix it. We need to demand better services for out of our private or public services, our jobs in particular, taxes are being charged against.

Even the non-taxpayers or the tax-exempted individuals like the garbage collectors, laborers, fish vendors, vegetable sellers, farmers, fishermen and ordinary tricycle and jeepney drivers, they need good services from any government institution. It is our basic right as a citizen of the country. Why? Because they are the people who composes the government. The government cannot run, even exists, without these people.

That is the essence of that particular statement quoted by the Philippine president. Now, you know your basic rights and privileges. But how about your duties and responsibilities as a citizen of the Philippines? I strongly believe these photos can tell you the basics.




While it can be a long story to be told if its about our basic and full rights as a Filipino people, I would like to end this post by sharing the Preamble, the opening statement in the Philippine Constitution document.

Preamble 

We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution. 


Read this over and over again, and the constitution if you may, and you’ll sooner or later realize more of your rights, duties and privileges in this country. May God bless the Filipinos. May God help this country back on its feet. May the leaders and followers of this country do their part as the “people”.



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Blog articles like this are written and published with a clear intention in mind – help the Filipinos. This is a personal campaign of the author, Noriel Panganiban, founder of this blog site and educational website Knowriel.com to bring good changes in the Philippines. If you have the same intention, sharing this article can make a difference – you are also helping and supporting the people.

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