PUPians bag awards, promote human rights in CHR contest

Precious Nicole Partosa, News, Communication Management Office

Putting a premium on human rights with their winning performances, two students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) won the Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) Spoken Word Poetry contest last December 8.

Among the 12 finalists, Josiah Othniel Pulas, a History student, and Carl Siongco, a Broadcasting student, received the first and second runner-up awards respectively after raising awareness to social issues by showing their writing skills and passion for human rights in their performances.

Pulas gave emphasis on the importance of hearing out the cries of the marginalized and of fighting for human rights in his piece, “Pakinggan Ninyo Ako.” On the other hand, Siongco highlighted the struggles and documented killings of peasants and farmers advocating for genuine land reform and social justice in his performance entitled, “Ang Proseso ng Pagsasaka sa Bansang Pilipinas.”

“Using our art to bring awareness to different social issues and as a call to act collectively is already a huge part in helping the good cause of activists and those who are fighting for their rights,” Siongco said in an interview.

Likewise, Pulas considered this as an opportunity to prove that “even a freshman student can bring a new perspective for the improvement of the country.”

Along with having their works deliberated as useful for CHR’s human rights advocacy, the first and second runner-ups were given ?7,000.00 and ?5,000.00 for their prizes correspondingly. They were judged based on the message and content, interpretation and performance, originality, and overall impact of their presentations.

With the theme “Pagbangon sa Lahat ng Panahon; Recover Better: Stand-up for Human Rights”, the human rights spoken word poetry contest was conducted to give a platform to the youth as channels of human rights promotion. This was part of CHR’s Human Rights Education Discourse in Art Form in celebration of the National Human Rights Consciousness Week from Dec. 4 to Dec. 10.

The judges of the presentations were Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) Secretary-General Rose Trajano, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) artist Edwin Bong Dela Torre, and CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana.

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