“This bill is refiled in a new Congress, when all eyes in the international community are on the Philippines for the bloody record of the previous president Rodrigo Duterte, and those of the other past regimes, including the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – The Makabayan bloc refiled a bill seeking to protect human rights defenders in the Philippines.
House Bill 2484 or The Human Rights Defenders Protection Act of 2022 was filed in the 19th Congress on July 27.
“This bill is refiled in a new Congress, when all eyes in the international community are on the Philippines for the bloody record of the previous president Rodrigo Duterte, and those of the other past regimes, including the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Despite these, and in the memory and honor of those who fought and still fight for the rights of their fellow Filipinos, the expeditious approval of this bill is earnestly urged,” the explanatory note read.
Different international groups including the United National Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights have expressed their concerns over the continuing attacks on human rights defenders in the Philippines. Many of them, if not killed, are being red-tagged.
The Makabayan bloc further said that “Considering the important role of human rights defenders and the Philippines government’s international commitment ro promote, defend and protect human rights, and continuing attack on the rights of the people and human rights defenders, it is imperative that the Congress should put into law that commitment as enshrined in the aforementioned UN General Assembly Resolutions.”
“It is necessary that the relevant provisions of the International Declaration are translated into a binding commitment not only to protect human rights but also those work for the protection of these rights so that they may be able to fulfill important role in the promotion, protection and defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the Makabayan bloc said in its explanatory note.
The said bill was first filed in the House of Representatives by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo during the 14th Congress. It was refiled in the 16th up to the 18th Congress also by the Makabayan bloc.
Read: Groups continue to seek passing of law that protects human rights defenders
Read: Human rights defenders bill approved at the House Committee
Read: Rights group lauds passage of bill protecting human rights defenders
The bill was unanimously approved on the third reading on Jan. 17.
In its earlier statement, Karapatan said that it is high time that Congress enacts such a measure as many “human rights defenders were killed, arrested, detained, red-tagged and threatened for so long, and a law to criminalize these acts has been long overdue.” (JJE)