MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that the work was "far from over" in boosting human rights, just days after his latest tirade against rights defenders.
Speaking at a human rights summit led by the justice department, Duterte said he was "proud" that the Philippines signed many of the world’s core human rights treaties.
"This affirms our serious commitment in honoring and fulfilling our treaty obligations and prioritizing the human rights agenda as a means to achieve our country’s sustainable development goals," the President said in a taped speech.
"Let me however stress that our work is far from over. I urge everyone to strengthen the multi-sectoral engagement that would foster a healthy human rights environment for all," he added.
Last Friday, Duterte said rights groups were "preoccupied" with the health and life of suspected criminals, thousands of whom have been killed in his anti-narcotics drive.
He also told law enforcers and prosecutors to "never waver" in the drug war.
Duterte last month said 167 million Filipinos were addicted to drugs, more than the 100-million population of the country. Roque said this was a "typo error" and that the President meant 1.67 million drug users.
A United Nations report in June said tens of thousands of people in the Philippines may have been killed in the war on drugs with "near impunity" for police and incitement to violence by top officials since mid-2016.
Government has many times said those slain in anti-drug operations had violently resisted arrest, prompting operatives to open fire and defend themselves.
The Philippines will "fully cooperate" with the UN on human rights issues after the international body pledged "technical assistance" to help the Duterte government probe killings, Malacañang recently said.
While campaigning to be president, Duterte had vowed to end the drug scourge in 3 to 6 months, but later admitted he was wrong in promising such timeline as he noted the magnitude of the problem.
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