Palace tells U2’s Bono: We continue to uphold human rights in PH
— Nestor A. Corrales (@NCorralesINQ) December 11, 2019
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government continues to uphold human rights despite criticisms of widespread violations committed by President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar issued the statement as U2’s frontman Bono, who is in the country for the Irish rock band’s first-ever concert, earlier sent a “soft message” to Duterte that human rights cannot be compromised.
“He has his beliefs. We agree (on) the fact that human rights should be upheld. That’s a policy of the government that we should protect every person. Human rights is sacred,” he said in a speech in Malacañang.
“The government agrees that we have to uphold human rights. After all, we believe in the rights of every Filipino,” he added.
The Palace official then reiterated the government’s stance that there are no extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
“Like we always argue, there is no extrajudicial killings in the country. This is not state-sponsored and it is not a policy of the government,” he said.
Duterte has received international condemnation for the thousands of killings in his brutal war on drugs allegedly due to police abuses.
“We have some police scalawags but we have addressed this [issue],” Andanar stressed.
Human rights, according to Andanar, “encompasses everything” such that it also includes health care and economic matters.
Thus, he cited that poverty incidence in the country went down from 23 percent to 16 percent, adding that “we have emancipated 5.9 million Filipinos out of poverty.”
“He (Duterte) is precisely protecting their human right to a better economic future or human right to having financial freedom,” Andanar noted.
He further cited the Universal Health Care Law, signed by Duterte in February this year, that gives Filipinos “equal access” to medical care.
He likewise noted the creation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) “to protect the journalists” and “to protect press freedom.”
Asked about the government’s message to Bono, he said, “Bono is an idol. But I just want him to rock the stadium at the Philippine Arena tonight.”
“There are so many Filipinos watching. We have been waiting for U2, for Bono, for The Edge, Larry Mullen. More than a decade actually, we have been waiting for U2 to be here and finally, they are here in the Philippines during the term of President Duterte,” he said.
Edited by KGA
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