Groups rally for human rights

Groups rally for human rights

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s administration has continued the human rights violations committed under former president Rodrigo R. Duterte, a coalition of human rights groups said as they marched in Manila on Sunday to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

“The Marcos-Duterte regime has failed miserably in its obligation to comply with the international human rights norms and standards under the UDHR,” said pro-human rights coalition Karapatan in a statement.

Karapatan noted the documented 87 extrajudicial killings in the course of Marcos Jr.’s counter-insurgency program. “The victims range from a nine-year-old girl to a mentally ill farmer.”

According to Karapatan, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has adopted a “militarist” approach that fails to address the underlying causes of the armed conflict in the country. Instead, this approach is alleged to have resulted in thousands of cases of human rights violations.

In addition to the reported killings, Karapatan stated records indicating 12 cases of enforced disappearance, 316 incidents of illegal and arbitrary arrest, 22,391 cases of bombing, 39,769 incidents of indiscriminate firing, 24,670 cases of forced evacuation, 552 cases of forced surrender, and 1,609,496 instances of threats, harassment, and intimidation, including red-tagging.

The group also cited the cases of political prisoners which they said totaled 795 who contend with the unjust bases of their imprisonment and sordid conditions in detention facilities.

Support group for political prisoners, Kapatid, last week appealed to the Department of Justice (DoJ) to approve the release of Gerardo Dela Peña, the country’s oldest political detainee at 84, before Christmas Day due to his deteriorating physical condition.

DoJ spokesman Jose Dominic F. Clavano IV told reporters on the sidelines of a jail decongestion summit in Manila last week that the justice department is looking into the legality of his early release. “We will look into the eligibilities, we have to study the record to make sure that everything goes into the proper process.”

Mr. Dela Peña has been in jail at the New Bilibid Prison for more than a decade, accused of charges that some groups say were trumped up. The Board of Parole and Pardon deferred his clemency application on Sept. 6.

The coalition also called for an International Criminal Court probe into former president Duterte’s war on drugs, and the continuance of peace talks between the national government and rebel groups. — Jomel R. Paguian