Workers Assistance Center gets peace award in South Korea
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: February 12, 2008
MANILA, Philippines – The Workers Assistance Center, a militant group advocating the protection of laborers’ rights, has been awarded the 2008 Justice and Peace Award by the Tji Hak-soon Justice and Peace Foundation (THSJPF) based in South Korea.
“The award is a fitting tribute to the more than 12 years of WAC’s unwavering advocacy for the rights and welfare of the Filipino working class,” Bishop Ephraim S. Fajutagana of the Philippine Independent Church and WAC chair, said in a press statement sent to the Inquirer.
Fajutagana said the principles practiced by WAC for the benefit of thousands of workers who are exploited, manipulated, harassed and exposed to various forms of human rights violations are worthy of the prestigious award given by the foundation.
WAC was established in 1995 in Rosario, Cavite to empower, assist and defend the workers against all forms of human and labor rights violations for the realization of their socioeconomic well-being.
The center has offices in Cavite and Batangas provinces.
It is the 11th Justice and Peace awardee of the Korean foundation since it was founded in 1997.
The award consists of $10,000 and a medal, which will be formally presented to WAC in a ceremony to be held in Seoul, South Korea on March 10.
Fr. Jose Dizon, WAC executive director, will accept the award on behalf of the center.
“The WAC is not only honored by the award. It is also deeply inspired by this kind of recognition coming from a Korean foundation whose own compatriots investing at the Cavite economic zones are the biggest number of cases handled by WAC in terms of labor rights violations,” said Fajutagana.
He said that with the award, former WAC chairperson Bishop Alberto Ramento, who was murdered in 2006 in Tarlac City, “has already been provided a share of his justice even not from the rule of law but by way of recognition for what he had fought and died for as one of the staunchest advocates of the workers rights.”
Msgr. Kim Byung-Sang, THSJPF chair, in his letter to WAC on Jan. 28, said: “We were very impressed by your organization that has been continuously fighting for the rights and welfare of [day] laborers, no matter what hardships your organization has undergone.”
The award is presented annually by the THSJPF to individuals and organizations who fight for justice, peace, and human rights even in the face of an oppressive system and at the great risk of their lives.
It was set up to honor the late Bishop Daniel Tji Hak-soon, a forerunner of the human rights movement in Korean Catholic Church and who had campaigned for justice and peace in Korea since the 1970s and died in 1993.
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