MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said work is “far from over” in efforts to foster a healthy human rights environment in the country.
In his taped speech at the Human Rights Summit organized by the Department of Justice, Duterte said he is “proud” that the Philippines is one of the few countries that 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,” Duterte said.
However, he stressed the importance of enhancing access to justice and promoting human rights for all Filipinos.
“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.
Duterte, meanwhile, welcomed the summit as an effective platform for international community to enhance collaboration in the protection and promotion of human rights.
Last Thursday, Duterte urged the law enforcement forces, the prosecution service, and the judiciary to never waver in efforts to rid the country of illicit drugs.
“We already accomplished a lot in the past four years, and we can accomplish more in the next years to come. Ending illegal drug trade means securing the future of our nation,” he said.
He also reminded them to do their duty in accordance with the law, stressing that he would take responsibility for all drug-related killings and protect them from prosecution.
Duterte also shrugged off human rights groups’ criticism on his administration’s drug war, insisting that he was not encouraging law enforcement to “intentionally” kill but only for self-defense.
He said the groups were “preoccupied” with the health and life of the criminals, while ignoring that many of police and military officers were killed in the drug war.
In his penultimate state of the nation address (SONA) last July, Duterte said his administration will not run away from its responsibility of upholding human rights despite criticisms of the aggressive crackdown on illegal drugs.
He said his administration has always maintained that freedom from illegal drugs, terrorism, corruption, and criminality, is itself a human right.
“We will not dodge our obligation to fight for human rights,” he said in his SONA. (PNA)