Press Release
March 23, 2010

RP needs network to check human rights abuses - Villar

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar yesterday called for strict monitoring of the implementation of human rights policies adopted by the government and treaties ratified by the Philippines.

Villar's appeal was prompted by the 2009 report of Freedom House, a New York-based human rights group, classifying the Philippines as only a "partly free" nation in 2008 due to several controversies in the human rights field and unfavorable developments in the political arena.

In 2005, the group's "Freedom in the World" annual report categorized the Philippines as "free."

To address the human rights problem, Villar said he would propose the creation of a network of government and independent groups that will monitor human rights compliance and abuses committed by law enforcers and members of the national security force.

"If we are serious in dealing with extra-judicial killings in the country, we must raise the awareness that the Philippines absolutely adheres to the highest standards of protecting the people's rights at all times," Villar said.

Villar maintained that the Philippine society is ruled by law and not by the barrel of the gun, but deplored this is hardly achieved.

He said it would take a tested leader to ensure a peaceful environment through observance of human rights.

The NP standard-bearer also said discussions on the Human Security Act of 2007 should be held regularly in order to avoid misinterpretations of the law. The Human Security Act makes terrorism a crime and allows authorities to arrest terror suspects without warrants and temporarily detain them without charges.

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