Fellows Speak

On Aquino III’s human rights record
December 10, 2013

There were 25 journalists killed in the first 40 months of Aquino III presidency. This is aside from the extra-judicial killing of 25 activists and 223 incidents of human rights violations involving enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, and so on.

The command responsibility in stopping these killings rests on the President - his inability to stop the culture of impunity perpetrated by the state's security forces against government critics, activists, and journalists/broadcasters - a culture that dates back to Marcos times or 40 years ago. Under his watch, previous cases of atrocities such as the Maguindanao massacre as well as the arrest of perpetrators like former General Palparan have not been solved.

In fact, the negligence of the national government in protecting the lives of supertyphoon Yolanda victims - or at least minimizing the death toll - and in rendering immediate relief and recovery constitutes a crime against humanity based on today's international human rights standards.

There is no basis for saying that the Aquino III administration should be praised for its human rights performance. In fact, under his watch, the Philippine government has failed in meeting its obligations to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) due in 2015 to comply with social and economic rights such as poverty eradication, health services, and primary education. Poverty has gone from bad to worse despite claims of GDP growth.


Prof. Bobby Tuazon
Director for Policy Studies

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