The resolution passed by the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines cited the “failed justice program” of the Aquino government in calling for the aid’s withdrawal.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — European human rights advocates urged the European Union (EU) to withdraw the 10-million euro grant for the Philippine Justice Support Programme.
The call is contained in a resolution adopted by more than 250 delegates of the recently concluded International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP).
The ICHRPP said the Aquino government unjustly enjoyed aid from the European Union despite failing to stop extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and impunity.
“Impunity in the violations of human rights in the Philippines continues amidst the unjust and selfish interests of European big businesses and their equally greedy and corrupt Filipino collaborators in business and politics, that have resulted in unfair competition, corruption, environmental destruction, displacement of communities, maldevelopment, people’s resistance and state repression, are placed above the aspirations of the Filipino people for genuine democracy, social justice, development and peace,” the resolution read.
The resolution cited in particular the unresolved and unprosecuted killings of Dutch missionary Willem Geertman who was killed in Pampanga province, and Italian Catholic priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME, in North Cotabato.
Both Geertman and Tentorio were long-time development workers in the Philippines who were killed by suspected state agents under the Aquino administration.
Geertman’s brother, Herman, attended the ICHRPP. In a statement, Herman expressed disappointment in EU ambassador Guy Ledoux’s statement lauding the Aquino government for its supposed improved human rights record.
“The EU ambassador’s statements inflict pain and further suffering to us and to the families of the other victims of political killings,” Herman said.
In a related development, the newly-established International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines expressed frustration that President Benigno Aquino III, in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), made no mention of concrete ways to address the prevailing impunity in the country.
Peter Murphy, elected secretary general of the international coalition, described the events on July 22 as a reflection of the “huge gap between the world the government is in and the real world of the people. The violence used by the police also demonstrates this massive gap.”
On the other hand, Murphy said the People’s SONA was a “successful display of protest against the government’s complete failure to meet the people’s basic needs.”