Human Rights Watch unveils report on the war on drugs, extra judicial killings
by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News
When Human Rights Watch unveiled their report on extra-judicial killings in the Philippines — the findings came as no surprise to many Fil-Am communities.
Fresh from a series of EDSA commemorations, Filipino American activists welcomed the 117-page HRW findings, claiming that the Philippine government should be investigated — and may be guilty in crimes against humanity when it comes to the war on drugs.
“The problem is the Duterte administration is still denying, and basically discounting, the human Rights Watch,” said Art Garcia of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance. “It’s the same with the Marcos administration, who did not accept that human right violations were prevalent in the Philippines, but [that] was proven on the court.”
“I really pity my country, the Philippines. I hope someday a dawn of a new day will still come to us,” said Tony Berango of the Knights of Rizal.
However, with Malacanang Palace so far dismissing the recommendations, human rights activists aren’t expecting the Duterte administration to budge.
“The problem is Duterte is in denial. His other officials are in denial ,and they won’t even allow the United Nations investigation in the Philippines,” Garcia added. “If he is really open, let the United Nations do the proper thing and investigate what’s happening.”
“As far is this drug problem, I support Duterte; I want this problem to go away,” said Dondi Monzon. “But at the same time it’s the method of getting rid of the drug problem. So if there are human rights violations, please stop it.”
Making matters in the Philippines worse for these concerned activists — recent moves by the government to bring back the death penalty.
“When you reimpose the death penalty, it’s really a bad thing for the Filipinos,” Garcia says. “And the next thing you will come is changing the penal age, from 15 to 9 years old.”
Supporters of President Duterte include many who took the streets this past weekend to show their support.
The supporters have told Balitang America that the HRW’s report is already making a conclusion that the administration is guilty of crimes against humanity, without conducting comprehensive investigations.
They say that while it focuses on the seven thousand killed allegedly in the Philippine war on drugs, the report doesn’t consider the thousands of crime victims in the country, and seeking justice for them.