The Philippine Star : CHR welcomes Marcos commitment to uphold human rights

12 June 2022

By The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) yesterday welcomed the commitment of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the Philippines will have a high level of accountability in terms of human rights.

Marcos made the commitment during a meeting with United Nations resident coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez, who said the UN would continue to support all efforts of the country on the human rights agenda.

“The CHR welcomes this statement from president-elect Marcos Jr. and looks forward to the support of the incoming administration for initiatives advancing the human rights cause in the country, including the UN Joint Program on Human Rights,” CHR executive director Jacqueline de Guia said.

The joint program implements the October 2020 resolution of the UN Human Rights Council following the findings of human rights violations in the context of the Duterte government’s war against illegal drugs.

De Guia underscored that this partnership between the Philippine government and the UN is seen as a critical milestone in addressing the gaps and lapses previously raised by the commission in the context of protecting the rights of all Filipinos.

“With the said expression of support, the CHR hopes that respect and protection of human rights will be part of the main agenda of governance of the incoming administration, thereby uplifting the lives of all Filipinos,” she said.

“In turn, the CHR affirms its adherence to its constitutional mandate of being an independent national human rights institution serving as watchdog, monitor, educator and adviser to the government so it may better serve its obligation to respect, protect and fulfill human rights,” she added.

The CHR official also welcomed the call of national security adviser-designate Clarita Carlos to do away with red-tagging or baselessly linking individuals to communist groups.

Carlos, a retired political science professor, said people, especially those in government, should stop wasting their time on red-tagging as it does not produce any benefit.

De Guia emphasized instituting a policy barring red-tagging would go a long way in protecting the life, liberty and security of various individuals and groups, especially those unfairly labeled.

“The CHR has long since cautioned against the harms of red-tagging, which range from harassment and intrusion to one’s right to privacy, to graver ones that include unlawful arrests, enforced disappearances, injuries and even killings,” she said.

“In turn, the CHR equally welcomes the proposal from Dr. Carlos to instead focus the government’s efforts on addressing inequalities and lack of opportunities on the ground that drive insurgency. In this way, the Philippines may move toward a more just and humane society by addressing the root causes of conflicts that deprive us all of a just and lasting peace,” she added.