PH won’t withdraw from UN rights council – Locsin

Robie de Guzman   •   July 16, 2019   •   936

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will not withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) despite its adoption of a resolution seeking to review the human rights situation in the country amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Tuesday.

Locsin wrote on his Twitter account that the UNHRC vote was a “a small and harmless matter,” and the Philippines is “not severing diplomatic relations with any country.”

“We’re staying in UNHRC as a pedagogical duty to teach Europeans moral manners. We’re NOT severing diplomatic relations with any country. If we did, where’s the conversation? How do you insult those who insulted us if you cut them off?” he said.

Locsin earlier hinted at the Philippines’ possible withdrawal from the U.N. body following the adoption of a resolution led by Iceland. Eighteen countries voted for the resolution, 14 rejected it and 15 abstained.

“No embassy in Iceland. Nor does Iceland have an embassy here. Iceland took the place of the US after it withdrew from the Human Rights Council. I think we need to follow America more,” he said.

READ: Philippine eyes withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

Malacañang has earlier expressed support for Locsin’s remark on severing diplomatic relations with Iceland, saying the Nordic island nation’s move which was supported by 17 other countries can be viewed as interference in the Philippines’ domestic affairs.

READ: PH mulls severing ties with Iceland, 17 other nations

Among the countries that voted in favor of the resolution are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Italy, Iceland, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay.

“’Pag ang isang bansa ay nagpapahayag ng mga posisyon na makakasira sa ating kasarinlan o sovereignty ay kailangang talagang putulin natin ang relasyon natin sa kanila kung wala silang gagawin kundi siraan tayo ng siraan sa mga kalakaran na di naman batay sa tunay na pangyayari dito sa ating bayan,” Panelo said.

(If a country is making declarations that are an affront to our independence or sovereignty, if they continue to do or say negative things that are not based on facts or occurrences in our country, then we need to sever our ties with them.)

However, Panelo said that Duterte will have the final say on the matter, as well as on a proposal for the Philippines to withdraw its membership from the UNHRC.

Duterte slams Iceland for abortion policy

Robie de Guzman   •   August 28, 2019

FILE PHOTO: A baby holds her father’s hand. Michaela Rehle / Reuters

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday slammed Iceland for allowing abortion to be legalized in the Nordic country.

Duterte condemned Iceland, which recently initiated a United Nations probe into the human rights situation in the Philippines for the alleged killings under its war on drugs, for allowing the “slaughter of the fetus inside the womb of the mother up to six months.”

“Do you know in Iceland they allow abortion up to six months? You have one more month and you have the principle of intra-uterine life that you give birth at six months the baby will survive,” the president said in a speech during the 31st anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Quezon City on Tuesday.

Abortion has been legal in Iceland since 1975. The law allowed the termination of a pregnancy up until the end of the 16th weeks.

But in May 2019, Iceland’s parliament passed a new law which allows abortion to be performed until the end of the 22nd week of pregnancy.

The new law also made the decision to terminate pregnancy available solely in the hands of the pregnant person.

Duterte said Iceland worries about the drug pushers in the Philippines but it allowed the slaughter of unborn children.

“Drug lords who are pushing drugs, killing our citizens and creating a social dysfunction in almost all tinamaan and there are about a million and six of them who are slaves to a drug called shabu,” he said.

“Hindi naiintindihan ng mga gag*** iyan… Palibhasa itong Iceland wala namang kain ‘yan e puro ice lang ang kain, wala namang tubig iyan e. Bobo ang mga put******** ‘yan…” he added.

Duterte said he supports family planning but will never allow abortion to be legalized in the country.

“Abortion is out of the question. I will not allow it,” he said.

The president previously expressed his ire against Iceland after it initiated a probe into the country’s alleged extrajudicial killings.

The United Nations Human Rights Council in July adopted a resolution calling for the conduct of a comprehensive review on the human rights situation in the Philippines amid Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

The move prompted Duterte to seriously consider cutting ties with Iceland for its move that can be considered as interference in the country’s affairs.

Malacañang also slammed the ‘grotesquely one-sided’ resolution, calling it an insult to the majority of Filipinos who expressed satisfaction on Duterte’s governance. (RRD with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

60% of Filipinos say PH gov’t should allow UN probe on drug slays – SWS

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2019

(file photo)

MANILA, Philippines – Sixty percent of Filipinos believe that the Philippine government should not block the investigation into the killings related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed on Monday (July 22).

The survey, conducted from Jun 22 to 26, showed that 26 percent of the 1,200 respondents strongly agree with the statement that, “the government should not block the investigation of international groups, like the United Nations, into the killing by the Philippine police of so many drug suspects who supposedly fought back.”

Thirty-four percent somewhat agreed to the statement; 15 percent disagreed, while 25 percent were undecided.

The SWS said the net agreements in both rural and urban areas, at +46 and +44 respectively, were classified as “very strong.”

The SWS said the net agreement is equal to the percentages of those who agreed minus those who disagreed.

It classifies a score of +50 and above as “extremely strong, and +30 to +49 as “very strong”.

Mindanao recorded an “extremely strong” +50 net agreement, followed by very strong net scores in Balance Luzon at +45, Metro Manila at +43, and the Visayas at +42, the agency said.

The pollster further said the net agreement was highest in class D or the “masa” at +46, followed by class E at +45, and class ABC at +37. It was also very strong among both women and men, at +47 and +44, respectively.

By age group, net agreement on the statement was highest among 35 to 44-year olds and 18 to 24-year olds, at extremely strong levels of +52 and +50, respectively, the SWS said.

This was followed by very strong scores among 25 to 34-year olds at +48; 55-year olds and above at +45, and 45 to 54-year olds at +31.

The SWS said the June 2019 Social Weather Survey has sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The survey follows reports earlier this month about the move of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to adopt a resolution led by Iceland seeking a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines amid Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Malacañang earlier said the adoption of the ‘grotesquely one-sided’ resolution is an insult to the majority of Filipinos who expressed satisfaction on the kind of “forceful and effective” governance of Duterte.

READ: Palace slams UN resolution as ‘grotesquely one-sided’ and ‘insulting’

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin also rejected the Iceland-led resolution and warned of “far-reaching consequences” for nations who supported the resolution.

Iceland, on the other hand, expressed hope that the Philippines will cooperate with the U.N. investigation.

CJ Bersamin on UNHRC reso: Other countries cannot intervene in PH affairs

Marje Pelayo   •   July 19, 2019

UNHRC Hall | Courtesy: United Nations Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin called the United Nation Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) adoption of a resolution to probe human rights situation in the country as ‘minority’ since only 18 countries voted for it.

Though his statement was brief, Bersamin said other countries have no reason to intervene with Philippine affairs especially its policies.

“Mukhang tama nga naman sina Secretary Panelo dahil minority resolution lang iyan. But you know, I am a member of the Judiciary and kailangan ipilit kong sabihin sa ngayon wala naman kami nakikitang dapat lamang na manghimasok ang taga ibang bansa,” the Chief Justice said in support of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s position on the matter.

(It seems Sec. Panelo was right because that’s only a minority resolution. But you know I am a member of the Judiciary and for now, I am compelled to speak. So far, I see no reason for other countries to meddle in our affairs.)

“Other than that, hindi na ko magsasalita (I won’t say anything more). I cannot be the architect of our foreign affairs,” he added.

The Palace previously called the resolution an insult to the Filipinos.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), however, clarified that the Philippines will not cut its ties with any member of the human rights body. — with reports from Mai Bermudez

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