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Human rights abuses under PNoy may surpass Gloria’s record– youth solon

16 August 2011 1,729 views No Comment

With the rate things are going, cases of Human Rights abuses under the watch of President Benigno Aquino III may surpass the record of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

That was the statement of Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino yesterday during the budget hearing of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the House of Representatives.

Based on the HR report submitted by CHR Chair Rosetta Rosales to Congress yesterday, the number of torture victims rose from 17 in 2009 to 37 in 2010; arbitrary arrests ballooned from 61 in 2009 to 85 in 2010. Rosales said that the number could even be higher once they update their database.

“President Aquino’s avowed commitment for human rights is starting to unravel its monstrous form. While the record of former President Macapagal-Arroyo remains unbeaten I am afraid that President Aquino’s record could turn out worse given the rise in human rights abuses under his watch,” Palatino said.

Echoing figures gathered by human rights group KARAPATAN, Palatino noted that the first four months of Aquino’s term already claimed 28 victims of extra-judicial killings, which translates to an average frequency of one victim per week. KARAPATAN has recorded a total 48 cases of extra-judicial killings from July 2010 to June 2011.

Weak commitment

Palatino also said that President Aquino’s P280 million proposed 2012 budget for the CHR is a meager amount reflective of Aquino’s “weak human rights commitment.”

“Investigating on reported human rights violations requires funds. The meager budget of the CHR is not commensurate to the number of human rights violations the agency should address. It is reflective of the weak human rights commitment of the Aquino administration,” Palatino said.

Palatino also hit the “slow” investigation of reported cases and the granting of justice to the victims.

“When can we see the reign of justice if the top human rights violator in the past nine years, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is still allowed to by President Aquino to roam free?” Palatino asked.

Holistic approach

Palatino also said that the CHR should also use its constitutional mandate to push President Aquino to address not only the political but also the socio-economic and cultural rights of the people.

“Poverty, massive demolitions, forced evacuations of indigenous peoples due to mining operations, to name but few, are human rights violations. The CHR should also decisively address other areas of human rights that are often neglected but are nonetheless very palpable in the everyday life-experience of our people,” Palatino said. ###

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