It is not only irrational but also unethical and even bluntly immoral to separate rights from obligations – responsibilities, duties, or accountabilities. In this time and age, it has become more and more the thinking and practice of a good number of people to be very conscious and conscientious as well, in promoting and defending their rights – while conveniently forgetting their obligation to respect and observe the rights of others. So it is that in this Country for example, there are rallies upon rallies of people demanding for the recognition of and respect for their rights. One has still to see any rally at all where people affirm to fulfil their obligations. Thus it is that someone aspiring for the highest public office in the land simply laughed at and despised “human rights” – the right to life in particular – upon the supposedly launching of his presidential candidacy. Translation: he has all the right to kill anybody at anytime.
The truth of the matter is that rights and obligations are intimately and inseparably linked. In other words, they are so coupled that it becomes incongruous for the former to be recognized while disregarding the latter. In other words, rights and obligations are intimately linked and joined – considering that they are in no way simply complimentarily but also indissolubly linked together. Someone’s basic and complementary rights would not mean much if somebody else does not comply with his/her obligation to recognize and respect them. During these days, it is sad to note that while there are those who unjustly claim that their rights are not acknowledged or respected by others, neither do they acknowledge nor respect the rights of others. While it is but a dream, it would not be hard to imagine a truly orderly and really peaceful world when people not only demand for the acknowledgment of and respect for their rights – but also become conscious of owning and fulfilling their obligations.
So it is that in a civilized human society, to one man’s right there corresponds an obligation in all other persons, i.e., the obligation namely of acknowledging and respecting the right in question. In other words, the existence and appendage of a right to a man, woman and child, generates the reality and actuality of the consequent obligation on the part of all others to acknowledge and respect the said right. In the same way, it is both inane and incongruous – silly and puerile – to claim and insist on someone’s rights while precisely forgetting if not denying the obligation to accept and honor the rights of others. This disciplinary norm is worth insisting upon, considering that its disregard is the standard cause of numerous social dissent and disorder – to the disturbance and dismay of all the people concerned of good will.
In other words, woe to this Country if it ever becomes presided by someone who claims the right to kill others according to his own desire and design. This would bring about the sad and bitter memory of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.