Faith in God and warm support help relatives of fallen Marawi heroes to move on

admin   •   November 3, 2017   •   4374

MANILA, Philippines — Thirteen out of 165 soldiers and policemen who died in Marawi crisis were laid to rest at Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.

Among of them was Corporal Dominar Lape who left three young sons.

For his bereaved widow, Aissa,  her strong hope is anchored in her faith in God to help her move on.

“Have faith in God because, in this time of trouble, it is God who can be your refuge. And it is really a big help if there are people who are giving their support and letting you feel that you’re important as well as the person you lost,” said Aissa.

The last soldier to be laid to rest at the heroes’ cemetery was Corporal Jethro Estacio of the Philippine Army.

He was one of the two soldiers whose remains were last to be retrieved from the battle area in Marawi.

READ: MCGI to award over P8-M livelihood cash assistance to families of Marawi’s fallen heroes

His body was mangled and burned by terrorists, while some parts had been removed — something that is truly painful for his mother Filomena.

“I’m trying to accept it to feel better and at least his remains have already been laid to rest. Though his body is gone, I know his spirit is now with the Lord,” she said.

She appealed to authorities to investigate what the terrorists had done to her son.

“I call on the Commission on Human Rights. They should also fight for the rights of the soldiers not only the civilians. They are protesting when it comes to the human rights of civilians but my son’s job is decent. Why did they do that to my son,” said Estacio. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

WATCH: “Songs for Heroes 3” concert boosts morale of wounded Marawi soldiers and orphaned families

UN offers assistance to ensure anti-terrorism law complies with human rights laws — DOJ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 8, 2020

The United Nations has offered to provide technical assistance to ensure the country’s anti-terrorism law complies with human rights laws, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Guevarra expressed his gratitude towards the UN at the Philippine Human Rights Summit on Monday (December 7).

“We take this opportunity to thank the United Nations — through the UN Resident Coordinator — for their offer of technical assistance in the undertaking to ensure that the anti-terrorism rules conform to the fundamental tenets of human rights laws,” he said.

However, the DOJ official clarified this does not mean that the anti-terrorism law needs any amendment, saying the UN only wants the country to see best practices of human rights from countries around the world.

He also said that the DOJ’s Human Rights Summit will discuss the human rights guarantees under the anti-terrorism law through its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

“These safeguards, among other measures, have been included in the implementing rules to ensure that the anti-terrorism law serves its purpose without invading the cherished rights and prerogatives of a people under a functioning democracy,” according to Guevarra.

The summit will be attended by various government agencies, Human Rights Affairs Office, the Philippine National Police, and the UN. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Duterte hits gov’t critics, vows to uphold human rights at UN

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte blasted the critics of his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism, whom he said are using the human rights issue to discredit functioning institutions and mechanisms of a democratic country and a popularly elected government.”

In a pre-recorded message aired at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Duterte highlighted the Philippines Anti-Terrorism Law which was passed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure drew criticisms, with several groups claiming this could be used to silence and prosecute political opponents.

“A number of interest groups have weaponized human rights; some well-meaning, others ill-intentioned,” Duterte said in his message.

This is the first time that Duterte participated in the gathering since he became president four years ago.

“They attempt to discredit the functioning institutions and mechanisms of a democratic country and a popularly elected which in its last two years, still enjoy the same widespread approval and support,” he said.

“These detractors pass themselves off as human rights advocates while preying on the most vulnerable humans; even using children as soldiers or human shields in encounters. Even schools are not spared from their malevolence and anti-government propaganda. They hide their misdeeds under the blanket of human rights but the blood oozes through,” he added.

Duterte said his administration remains committed to protecting human rights and continue to take part in “ open dialogue and constructive engagement” with the United Nations.

“But these must be done in full respect of the principles of objectivity, non-interference, non-selectivity, and genuine dialogue. These are the fundamental bases for productive international cooperation on human rights,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

NCRPO chief prepared to let VP Leni join drug busts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 8, 2019

An agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-National Capital Region (PDEA-NCR) searches the pockets of suspected illegal drugs pusher ‘Bong’ during a raid on a house in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City, northeast of Manila, Philippines 02 February 2018. Agents of the PDEA conducted the raid in search of an alleged pusher named ‘Bong’. The operation resulted in the arrest of the suspect and discovery of hidden packs of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, after a search in two houses in the area. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief PBGen. Debold Sinas said he is prepared to let Vice President Leni Robredo join drug busts.

“Bakit hindi? Kapag available siya (Why not, if she is available) we will. But of course, she’s the vice president. Importante ang security niya (her security is important),” he said.

Sinas also said they are willing to abide by the instructions of Robredo as the co-chairman of the Inter-agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

During the ICAD meeting on Friday (November 8) Robredo said drug operations should be done in a manner that doesn’t result in senseless killings.

“Iyong sa akin kapag nagkakaroon kasi ng mga senseless killings nadi-diminish iyong mga pagod na binubuhos natin dito (For me when there are senseless killings, it diminishes the work we put in this campaign),” she said.

Sinas also does not want killings however, they cannot guarantee there will be zero casualties in the campaign against illegal drugs.

“Ayaw din namin ng patayan. Kapag kami rin ay tinutukan, una (We also do not want killings. But if a gun is pointed at us, first) we have to defend ourselves also,” Sinas said.

Sinas assures all operations against illegal drugs will still be respectful of human rights and will not violate any laws.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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