Amnesty International Philippines criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies on human rights, or the lack thereof, saying that impunity and lack of accountability have been shamelessly displayed at almost all levels of his administration, failing to meet its basic job to protect the Filipino people including meeting their basic economic needs and civil liberties. Jose Noel Olano, Amnesty International Philippines Section Director, said:
“First off, the Duterte Administration does not know how to listen. While the President said in his 2016 speech that ‘his administration shall be sensitive to the State’s obligation to promote, protect and fulfill human rights, especially the poor, marginalized and the vulnerable; that social justice will be pursued and rule of law at all times will prevail’, his human rights agenda basically went on a downward spiral from that time onwards. What contributed to this was partly his resistance to recommendations put forward by more diverse sectors in lieu of the opinion of his few trusted advisors, and his shortsightedness in accepting criticism from the international community.
“Secondly, it is not only his speeches about keeping our country safe that has become mere lip service but in his audacity to smear human rights, he has rolled back on hard-won human rights protections that are supposed to keep everyone safe, in the first place. Abandoning human rights values and principles is a failure on his part and comes with a huge cost of essentially guaranteeing that the no one can ever be safe because the country has become a far more dangerous place.
“Lastly, President Duterte has actively created a climate where anyone can kill or be killed, the poor were the obvious prey but more recently even government officials. This situation has given anyone a free reign to commit human rights abuses and violations with impunity where social and political division thrive, leading to greater potential for human rights violations.
“By denying Filipinos of true and lasting justice, this administration will only fuel despair with no limit or end.”