PHILSSA STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF RODRIGO “BOY” OLARTE AND KATOTOHANAN, PAGKAKAISA, SERBISYO (KPS)
Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), a partnership network of sixty (60) development service providers from the National Capital Region (NCR), Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao working for inclusive, transformative and sustainable urbanization, is calling for social justice and equal protection of the law for Mr. Rodrigo “Boy” Olarte, founder of an urban poor people’s organization, Katotohanan, Pagkakaisa, Serbisyo (KPS).
Rodrigo “Boy” Olarte was arrested at his office in Purok Magsaysay, Barangay Labangal, General Santos City in the afternoon of June 19, 2018 by virtue of a Search Warrant signed by Judge Emmanuel Carpio, from the Davao RTC last June 11, 2018.
KPS is a long-time member-civil society organization (CSO) and partner of PHILSSA in South-Central Mindanao (Region XII). Since the 1980s, KPS has been actively working for the poor and advocating self-help and self-reliant solutions to issues affecting the urban poor and informal settler families, such as land and housing projects, social protection and services to women and children, disaster risk reduction and management- climate change action (DRRM-CCA), savings and livelihood development, both in the local and national levels.
In November 2000, KPS was honored with the Bayaning Pilipino Award, Bayaning Samahan sa Taon ng Bagong Milenyo, “for continuing to set aside personal interest or gain for the benefit of their respective community, imbued with a tireless pursuit for excellence in their endeavors, and dedicating their lives in the service of the poor.”
Boy Olarte and KPS have been passionate advocates of the urban poor sector, working with community organizations and sectoral federations and engaging with government institutions and officials in the city/municipal, provincial, regional and national levels. As part of his advocacy and sectoral engagement, Boy ran and was elected for two (2) consecutive terms (1995 to 2001) as City Councilor of General Santos City under the Party of PDP-LABAN. He had also been actively engaging for almost two decades now, with the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), the national machinery for poverty alleviation of the disadvantaged basic sectors under the Office of the President. As an active long-time Mindanao Representative in the National Urban Poor Sectoral Council (NUPSC), Boy Olarte and KPS have passed resolutions benefiting the urban poor sector all over the country.
In all these years that PHILSSA have worked with both KPS and Boy Olarte, they have exemplified passion, commitment and integrity in their programs, services and advocacies for the urban poor sector, in general, and for informal settler families/ communities in General Santos, Region XII and Mindanao, in particular.
PHILSSA fears that the search of the KPS premises and the arrest of Boy Olarte will unnecessarily affect the programs and services of KPS as a social development institution, as well as the advocacies and other activities of their partner urban poor groups in General Santos City and nearby areas. Likewise, we are concerned that all these will also affect the health of Boy, given his age and medical condition.
PHILSSA reiterates its support to KPS and Boy Olarte for their continuing efforts for community service and development.
PHILSSA deplores the search of KPS premises and the eventual arrest of Boy.
Moreover, PHILSSA hopes for the restoration of justice and his immediate release.
Rosemarie Johnson-Herrera (Signed)
Chair, Board of Trustees
Benedict Balderrama (Signed)