COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
18 JANUARY 2008
ON FREEDOM HOUSE FINDINGS: “GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE THE MATTER SERIOUSLY ” – COMMISSIONER WILHELM D. SORIANO
The Philippine government should take the findings of the Freedom House seriously and at the same time analyze and study on how they might be able to improve human rights situation in the country so that by the end of the year, Freedom House can validate significant improvements and eventually lift the Philippines’ ranking as human rights compliant.
According to CHR Commissioner Wilhelm D. Soriano, it is best for the Philippine government to look at the situation seriously because he believes it will have a long term negative economic impact to the country. Although he admitted that he is not privy on the manner the survey was conducted, he is well aware of the credibility and integrity of the said international organization. He continued that it is very likely that the basis of the survey was mainly anchored on specific issues on extra judicial killings and killings of journalists. He surmised however, that as far as the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines is concerned, the government has taken significant steps toward the promotion and protection of human rights situation as a whole especially in the aspect legislation.
Commissioner Soriano stressed noticeable achievements of the Philippine government’s rights compliance include legislations on the abolition of the death penalty, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act as well as the human anti-trafficking, additional resources designed for the improvement of forensic system and investigation of the Commission on Human Rights.
“We have also recognized the fact that in 2007, the President initiated concrete actions to protect and promote human rights situation and taken initiatives to improve the country’s rights condition,” the CHR Commissioner further said. The CHR official continued the findings may have zeroed in on the civil and political rights highlighting the extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and killing of the journalists. The visit of United Nations special rapporteur Philip Alston may have also contributed to the negative effect of the Philippine decline in the survey.
All taken, Soriano said the government should take the matter a `challenge’ for a better and more concrete actions to protect, promote and fulfill the country’s overall human rights situation citing its impact in both the economic and social gains international-wise.