tells UN about continuing rights violations in the PH
March 23, 2023
MANILA – A
representative of the National Council of Churches in the
Philippines (NCCP) told the United Nations (UN) of continuing human
rights violations under the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government.
Speaking at the general
debates of the ongoing 52nd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights
Council (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, NCCP program secretary for
Faith, Witness and Service Mervin Sol Toquero reported before the
international body that there had been 223 drug-related killings
since July 2022, the start of the Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“There is also very
minimal accountability for perpetrators since the time of President
Rodrigo Duterte,” Toquero added.
Toquero said they are
alarmed that human rights defenders, including church people and
humanitarian workers, are also targeted under the country’s
anti-terrorism and related laws.
He cited the case of
United Methodist Church minister Glofie Baluntong who had been
“falsely accused” of attempted murder as well as charged under the
He also mentioned the case
of NCCP staff member and land and environment defender Peti Enriquez
who has been charged for alleged violations of the International
Toquero appealed to the
UNHRC to call on the Philippine government to enact the Human Rights
Defenders Bill pending before the Philippine Congress.
The Human Rights Committee
of the House of Representatives has recently approved the measure
for the third time in two decades but is yet to be approved by its
plenary and the Senate.
Toquero also asked the UN
to call on the Philippine government to repeal the Anti-Terrorism
Act “as it endangers human rights defenders.”
“Relatedly, we ask this
Council to continue urging the Philippine Government to cooperate
with the ICC (International Criminal Court) as this would provide
viable accountability mechanisms and combat impunity,” Toquero said.
The Philippine UPR Watch
is participating in the ongoing 52nd Regular Session of the UN HRC’s
adoptions of the recommendations made during the 4th UPR on the
Philippines last November.
The Philippine government
is expected to accept 215 of the 289 recommendations by UN member
states, choosing however to reject substantial proposals such as
rejoining the International Criminal Court, putting a stop to
red-tagging and repeal of laws that are “weaponized” against rights
defenders, church workers, journalists such as the Anti-Terrorism
Act and Libel/Cyber-Libel.
The NCCP is a co-convenor
of the Philippine UPR Watch.