Commentary: Long-term plan needed to further reduce incidence of EJK
By Miriam P. Aquino
San Fernando City, La Union (9 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) to enjoin/urge all participants, stakeholders and sectors to participate in the human rights plan drafting to highlight the "importance the Filipinos give to the promotion and protection of human rights shared by the entire family of mankind – women, children and other vulnerable sectors."
Earlier, the PHRC, chaired by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, took steps in bringing all stakeholders in consultation for a National Human Rights Action Plan and Program (NHRAPP), which sets the roadmap for human rights work in a long-term five-year plan.
In response to this, various groups joined the recent consultative meeting at Malacañang, in preparation for the country's Universal periodic Review (UPR) to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council this year. Ways to address issues affecting civil and political rights in the country were discussed. Some even urged the legislators to pass a bill to address this issue.
Their proposals were brought up and various sectors expressed their hopes that the state report will "develop proposals in respect to human rights and guidelines for the state and claimholders to promote human rights advocacies, which could in the longer term further prevent unnecessary victims.
The issuance of Administrative Order No. 211 dated Nov. 26 which created the task force, and armed by the President with requisite powers and funding to stem the tide of killings of leftist activist, journalists and all other cases of political violence and Administrative Order 163, issued on December 8, 2006 which provides expansion of membership of the PHRC to coordinate compliance with international treaties on human rights and formulation of the National Action Plan on Human Rights and Human Rights Education was a big boost in the country's human rights direction.
In the year 2006 and 2007, several responses were made to address media and activist killings which resulted to a significant drop in incidences of about 83 percent last year, according to the PNP's Task Force Usig and NGO Karapatan report.
Government responses to the issues will be incorporated in the UPR, together with the background assessment and roadmap in compliance with the UN guidelines. The country's delegation to the UN General Assembly will report on February 15.
Under the UN Resolution, the 43 members of the first Human Rights Council (HRC) elected in May 2006 by the UN assembly will be the first to be reviewed. (PIA) [top]