Senators divided over PH’s possible withdrawal from UN human rights body

Marje Pelayo   •   July 15, 2019   •   960

UNHRC Hall | Courtesy: United Nations Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s tweet about the Philippines’ possible withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) earned mixed reactions from members of the Senate.

In reaction to the issue, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the Philippines may face unfavorable consequences in the future with its withdrawal from different UN bodies.

“It may be a matter of time when we will be left to our own devices. We do not know when, but being a developing country, we may need to knock on the doors of the community of nations sooner or later,” Lacson said in statement on Monday (July 15).

For his part, Senator Francis Pangilinan believes there will come a time when the Philippines will have to explain the outcome of the government’s drive against illegal drugs.

“We can run but we can’t hide. Sooner or later we will have to explain if not to the international community at the very least to ourselves and our citizens why tens of thousands have been killed,” Pangilinan said.

“Yet the drug menace has become worse while drug syndicates and customs officials behind the smuggling of tons of shabu through the BoC go unpunished,” he added.

But Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed support to whatever the Foreign Affairs Department proposes best for the country.

“He would be in the best position to assess what is beneficial for our country as far as diplomacy with others is concerned,” Sotto said of Locsin.

Locsin posted the idea on Saturday (July 13) when a netizen inquired about how the Philippine representation in Iceland reacted to the Council’s approval of Iceland’s resolution seeking to probe into the human rights situation in the Philippines in relation to the Duterte administration’s drug war.

READ: Philippines eyes withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

The resolution garnered 18 affirmative votes, 14 negative and 15 abstentions. – with details from Nel Maribojoc.

PNP reiterates drug war successful, Robredo’s figures ‘totally wrong’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 7, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) reiterated that the government’s war on drugs is a success, contrary to the figures reported by Vice President Leni Robredo.

PNP Officer-in-Charge Archie Gamboa said the campaign against illegal drugs was one hundred percent successful; this was after Robredo called the drug war unsuccessful during her report on Monday (January 6).

“Whether her numbers are merely an estimate or the exact value, in any case, the figure derived is totally wrong,” Gamboa said.

Gamboa also said that since 2016, they already destroyed 14 clandestine drug laboratories and 419 drugs dens.

The PNP had also confiscated around P40.39 billion worth of illegal drugs. These include 5.1 tons of shabu, 2.3 tons of marijuana, 500 kilos of cocaine, and over 42,000 pieces of the party drug, ecstasy.

Authorities have also arrested 220,728 individuals in 2016, with 8,185 high value targets.

Gamboa also reported that 5,552 drug personalities and 55 policemen were killed during illegal drug operations. Meanwhile, a total of 16,706 barangays are drug-free.

Gamboa said Robredo’s appreciation of statistics in her report was not mathematically acceptable. He also said that her 18 days as the co-chairman in the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) was not enough for her to provide estimates of the totality of the illegal drug campaign.

“Ang ginawa niya kin-quote niya iyong PDEG (What she did was, she quoted the PDEG) [Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group] that there are three tons of consumption per week for the drug problem of the Philippines and then in-equate niya ito sa drug recovered (then she equated it with the drugs recovered),” he said.

“Iyong appreciation niya doon sa statistics na iyon is wrong. Kung ganiyan ang appreciation niya (Her appreciation of the statistics is wrong. If that is her appreciation) it’s quite risky because if you have little knowledge that you present it could be very risky,” Gamboa added.

Meanwhile, the PNP official said despite the success of the government’s drug war, regional directors and head of national support units are doubling their efforts in the government’s war on drugs, terrorism, criminality, and corruption.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Palace on VP Robredo’s anti-drug report: ‘Nothing new’

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo criticized Vice President Leni Robredo’s revelations of what she claimed as her discovery during her short stint as the anti-drug czar.

In response to her press briefing Monday (January 6), the Palace said it was Robredo who failed as the co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), and not the Duterte Administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Palagay ko ang failure ay ang pag-upo niya (I think the real failure is when she took the post),” Panelo said.

Robredo spent only 18 days in the ICAD before President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed her from the position due to a lack of trust.

As for the figures that the Vice President divulged before the press, the Palace official said they were wrong and all anti-drug law enforcement agencies could attest to that.

Panelo argued that in comparison to Robredo, the President has unlimited resources when it comes to the government’s war on drugs as compare to her who knows nothing about the campaign.

“I think she just wants to be relevant,” Panelo said.

“It’s a dud. Wala naman siyang sinabing bago na hindi tinututukan ng mga ahensya na involved sa laban droga (There was nothing new with what she said that anti-drugs agencies didn’t address. There’s nothing new in what she said),” Panelo concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

‘How dare you?’ and ‘The rapist is you’: 2 powerful phrases from 2019

UNTV News   •   December 23, 2019

Greta Thunberg, the 16-years-old climate activist from Sweden, addresses world leaders at the start of the 2019 Climate Action Summit which is being held in advance of the General Debate of the General Assembly of the United Nations at United Nations Headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 23 September 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/JUSTIN LANE

MADRID/SANTIAGO– This year, two short but powerful phrases have been added to our collective memory: “How dare you?” which teenage Swedish activist spat at world leaders faced with the climate emergency, and “The rapist is you,” the chorus line of a song that some Chilean women sang in a flash mob that has spread across the planet.


From an inconspicuous high school student striking outside the Swedish parliament building every Friday to TIME magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year, it has been a whirlwind 12 months for climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The 16-year-old spent 2019 traveling the length and breadth of Europe and North America by rail, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in both directions on a sailboat to highlight environmentally-friendly travel alternatives.

Millions of like-minded youngsters have been inspired by the Swedish teenager, following her example by launching their own Fridays4Future strikes all around the globe.

Thunberg’s call for the adults in charge to take responsibility for tackling the pressing climate crisis has put the topic at the top of the international agenda in a year blighted by wildfires in the Amazon, California and Australia, and record-breaking heatwaves.

“How dare you?”

This soundbite of her speaking to world leaders at the United Nations in New York back in September this year went viral.

Not one for platitudes, she continued: “This is all wrong, I shouldn’t be up here, I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope.

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood.

“People are suffering, people are dying, entire eco-systems are collapsing, we are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” she said.

The next UN climate summit was set to be held in Santiago de Chile, but unrest prompted organizers to move it to Madrid.

At the COP25 in the Spanish capital, Thunberg insisted that the adults in charge needed to be educated on the science behind the climate crisis just as much as the youth.

The COP dragged on two days over schedule as delegations struggled to reach agreements on topics such as carbon-market regulation, ocean and land use and boosting commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Fridays4Future called for a strike on Dec. 13, what should have been the final day of the COP, saying the outcomes of the summit had been “insufficient.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Chilean official hosts of the summit both expressed disappointment as many of the sticky decisions were postponed for COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, next year.

One text, urging countries to demonstrate more ambitious measures within the framework of the Paris Agreement, was approved.

Meanwhile, Thunberg traveled home by rail to Sweden, dropping in on a climate strike in Turin along the way.


A Chilean protest song showed that rape culture and systemic gender violence is a language that all women around the world understand.

The song “A Rapist In Your Path” (“Un violador en tu camino”) was first performed in Chile on Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and has since transcended cultures and nations thanks to its powerful message.

From Chile to New Zealand, from Kenya to Canada, and from Spain to India, the protest has been replicated in 46 countries and 187 cities as of Dec. 19, according to the women mappers collective Geochicas OSM.

“It’s feminicide, impunity for the killer … It’s rape, and the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed. The rapist is you, it’s the cops, the judges, the State, the president,” sang women of all ages across the world.

In Istanbul, Turkey, an attempt to stage the song was broken up by police, although the catchy tune was later performed in parliament. In New York, a group of women danced the song in front of the Flatiron building and even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) retweeted the popular dance in solidarity with Chilean women.

In Quito, Ecuador, a group of deaf women performed the song in sign language, and in Tlapa, a small city in the Mexican state of Guerrero, indigenous girls and women sang the song in their native language, an action that was replicated in other cities across Latin America.

The performance was replicated “throughout the world, in many languages, including native languages, and by women of all profiles, in their few or in their thousands, recognizing themselves through a voice and cause common to half of humanity: our constant risk of violence,” the collective said on its Twitter account.

According to UN Women, it is estimated that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives.

Moreover, it is estimated that one in three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.

The song was written by LasTesis, a feminist group based in the Chilean city of Valparaiso, founded a year and a half ago by Dafne Valdés, Paula Cometa, Sibila Sotomayor, and Lea Caceres.

The performance is based on rape research by the four women and on the work of the Argentinean feminist theorist Rita Segato. The lyrics describe how institutions uphold systematic violations against women’s rights.

The original work was modified to include elements that refer the police brutality and sexual abuse committed by the Carabineros (police) during the latest social unrest in Chile. EFE-EPA


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