Following the recent message of the 61 civil society organizations to the United Nations Human Rights Council for an independent international investigative mechanism on the Philippines’ human rights situation, we reiterate our openness and receptiveness in engaging all parties to address allegations of human rights violations in the country within the framework of our domestic accountability mechanisms.
The government, through the publication of the Philippine Human Rights Situationer, has laid out thorough and scrupulous information on the human rights situation in the Philippines and our actions, programs, and responses to it.
Apart from this, we have rigorously addressed allegations of human rights violations in the Human Rights Council and in other relevant fora. We believe that these engagements at all levels have been useful in presenting the real human rights situation in the country and the context on the ground.
The Philippines’ human rights situation does not merit any external investigative mechanism being called for on the basis of specific cases where investigations are ongoing.
As we have well-established and functioning accountability mechanisms in place, the Duterte administration maintains its commitment and international obligation of enhancing and strengthening these structures, especially on matters of human rights and the rule of law. The administration has ensured the steady increase of public budgets to strengthen these structures, as a key pillar of its good governance agenda. This includes the increase of the budget of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR), an independent human rights institution in the past three years.
We recognize that the advancement of government’s constructive cooperation with the CHR, civil society, and international partners, including the United Nations will be important as we further promote the comprehensive facets of human rights, accountability, and rule of law in the Philippines. We therefore request the civil society and international community to support the Duterte administration’s efforts in this regard.