The Philippines places the value of human rights at $20

Duterte stands at attention during a courtesy call with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Ministers in Manila Philippines
Palace denies shoot-to-kill policy for drug suspects
Author

13 September, 2017

The commission was last year awarded nearly (749 million pesos) $15 million for its annual budget, and had initially requested for a budget of 1.72 billion pesos ($34 million) this year.

Rodrigo Duterte was elected in 2016, promising to eradicate the drug trade, leaves to kill tens of thousands of addicts.

Duterte unleashed his bloody campaign the day he took office on June 30 a year ago, after promising Filipinos he would use deadly force to wipe out crime and drugs.

The recent killing of a schoolboy who was dragged into an alley and shot in the head by plains-clothed policeman on 16 August was described by the Minister of Justice as "an isolated case", Zeid said in his opening statement at the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday. "Why should you get budget from the government?"

On the second reading of the legislation, Congress approved that the figure be slashed to just 1,000 pesos, a huge cut from the 2017 budget of 749 million (US$14,713,685). The budget requires another vote, then Senate approval before it becomes final.

Despite its flaws, she added, Karapatan still sees "the recent attempts of the Duterte administration to de facto abolish the CHR as a unsafe step that undermines available mechanisms for redress for human rights violations in this so-called democratic form of government".

Loreta Amancera, aunt of Wilson Castillo, 33, who was among the killed within a week of President Rodrigo Duterte's intensified war on drugs, cries in front of the coffin of her nephew, inside their house in V. Mapa, metro Manila, Philippines August 19, 2017.

Filipinos are largely supportive of Duterte's crackdown as a solution to tackling rampant crime stemming from drug addiction.

He added: "On pretext, asking me to resign would lead to essentially making the institution forever at the mercy of politics".

However, activists say the prime targets have been users and small-time peddlers and accuse police of executing thousands of people. "Mr. Al Hussein's broad references about the supposed policies of the President run counter to what he continues to pronounce", Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

Popular movements and human rights groups in the country are hoping to step up their protests against Duterte's rights violations, regardless of what happens in the bicameral legislative halls or the presidential palace.

He said that he may take the issue to the Supreme Court.

Lawmakers may have misunderstood the agency's role, said one representative, Raul del March.

Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, said Filipinos deserved a strong, independent rights organisation that could hold the state accountable.

"The vote by an overwhelming majority of the House of Representatives is part of the Duterte administration's attempt to prevent independent institutions to check its abuses, particularly in the context of the brutal drug war", said Phelim Kine, the deputy Asia director for HRW.

Additional reporting from Reuters.


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