Palace: PH can’t ‘fully commit’ to full implementation of UNHRC report advice
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines cannot “fully commit” the full implementation of the recommendations contained in a report by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), given that the conclusions were “faulty,” Malacañang said on Saturday.
In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque added that Malacañang “firmly reject” such conclusions.
“The Philippine Government notes the recommendations made by the OHCHR, but cannot commit to their full implementation given the faulty conclusions on which they were premised, among them the alleged violations of the right to life, the supposedly arbitrary deprivation of liberty of those involved in drug cases, the alleged violations of the right to health, and the implication that Filipino civic space is being destroyed by the focus given to public order and national security,” Roque said.
“We firmly reject these conclusions. That being said, the Government will continue to respect its international legal obligations, including human rights,” he added.
The OHCHR report noted that human rights violations in the Philippines stem from the government’s “heavy-handed approach” against national security threats and illegal drugs and that there was “near impunity” in the government’s handling of drug war killings.
Among the recommendations contained in the report was for the Philippine government to stop the controversial “Oplan Tokhang,” and to “urgently put an end to extrajudicial killings among drug users” and to “abolish the compilation and publication of ‘drug watch lists’ at all administrative levels.”
Roque added that the Palace welcomes the acknowledgment of the UN office, where it cited that the Philippines has advanced human rights measures such as universal health care and universal access to tertiary education, among others.
“We are also gratified that the OHCHR has noted our efforts in improving the administration of justice, the provision of treatment and rehabilitation for drug users, and the millions spent for social and economic development programs under initiatives for sustainable peace in conflict-ridden areas,” Roque said.
“By the OHCHR’s own reckoning, the “legal, constitutional and institutional framework in the Philippines contains human rights,” he added.
Roque also assured that the government continues to ensure the exercise of rights guaranteed by the Constitution, adding that it was also the government’s duty to “enforce the acknowledged and clear limits of these rights: public order, public safety and security, and public health.”
“In the midst of a crippling pandemic, it is the Philippine Government’s responsibility to ensure that its citizens are not exposed to the virus, misled by misinformation spread under the guise of free speech, or harmed by criminals taking advantage of a precarious situation,” he said.
“We maintain that the rule of law is upheld in the Philippines and any offenses committed by law-enforcement or otherwise will be dealt with in accordance with due process,” he added. “Our courts stand ready to receive and rule on any complaints and their autonomy is respected by the Duterte administration.”
“Our commitment to the campaign against illegal drugs is buoyed not just by its gains with respect to drug users rehabilitated and drug peddlers stopped, but by the public’s continued support for the President, who won his office on the issue of illegal drugs.”
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