Philippines to 'fully cooperate' with UN on rights issues, Palace says after aid pledge

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2020 03:07 PM | Updated as of Oct 08 2020 03:44 PM

Filipino activists, and relatives of people killed in the country's war on drugs, hold a rally in observance of Human Rights Day in Manila, Dec. 10, 2019. Reuters/File 

 
MANILA— The Philippines will "fully cooperate" with the United Nations on human rights issues after the international body pledged "technical assistance" to help the government of President Rodrigo Duterte investigate killings under his anti-narcotics drive. 

The government is "thankful" that the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution that it would help ensure unlawful killings and other violations are properly investigated and prosecuted, said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

"We will fully cooperate po with the UN human rights system dahil iyan lang naman po ang gusto natin. We are not saying that we are perfect. Kaya nga kung gusto ninyo, 'wag n'yo na kaming pulaan, tulungan n'yo na lang kami," he told reporters. 

(That's all we want... Don't simply criticize us, but rather, help us.)

"We always welcome cooperation. Ayaw lang po ng President iyong pula nang pula, wala namang solusyon," Roque said. 

(The President just doesn't like criticism without any solution.)

Philippine ambassador to the UN in Geneva Evan Garcia said the government had "identified projects for the joint program in the areas of strengthening investigative and accountability mechanisms, the establishment of compliance monitoring systems for the national police, and engagement with civil society."

The resolution cited similar areas in which the United Nations could provide technical assistance.

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But activists said it fell short of their appeals to establish an international investigative mechanism.

"The human rights situation in the Philippines warrants more than just 'technical assistance' from the UN. A full international investigation to effectively address the pervasive impunity in the country is urgently needed," said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Philippines researcher at Amnesty International.

"Sorry na lang po sila," Roque fired back.

A landmark United Nations report in June said tens of thousands of people in the Philippines may have been killed in the war on drugs since mid-2016 amid "near impunity" for police and incitement to violence by top officials.

The text of the resolution presented on Wednesday by Iceland on behalf of countries including the Philippines keeps the issue on the agenda for 2 years.

"We are hopeful that this first step will lead to concrete results on the ground," Harald Aspelund, Iceland's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the Council.

 

Laila Matar of Human Rights Watch denounced the "collective failure" of states to launch an international investigation.

"At the same time, it is quite clear that Duterte and the state forces behind the brutal campaign are not off the hook and will face continued examination," she said in a statement. 

— With a report from Reuters