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‘Duterte does not know how to listen’

NOBEL Peace Prize laureate Amnesty International has slammed the Duterte administration’s human rights record again, three days ahead of the President’s third state-of-the-nation address today.

“First off, the Duterte administration does not know how to listen,” said Jose Noel Olano, Amnesty International Philippines section director. “While the President said in his 2016 speech that ‘his administration shall be sensitive to the State’s obligation to promote, protect and fulfill human rights, especially the poor, marginalized and the vulnerable; that social justice will be pursued and rule of law at all times will prevail,’ his human rights agenda basically went on a downward spiral from that time onwards. What contributed to this was partly his resistance to recommendations put forward by more diverse sectors in lieu of the opinion of his few trusted advisors, and his shortsightedness in accepting criticism from the international community.”

In a statement released on Friday, Amnesty lashed out at the Duterte administration’s human rights policy, “or the lack thereof,” saying that “impunity and lack of accountability have been shamelessly displayed at almost all levels of his administration.”

Amnesty said the government failed to protect Filipinos, including meeting their basic economic needs and civil liberties.

Olano said President Duterte’s speeches about keeping the country were mere lip service, and he has rolled back on hard-won human rights protections that are supposed to keep everyone safe “in his audacity to smear human rights.”

“Abandoning human rights values and principles is a failure on his part and comes with a huge cost of essentially guaranteeing that the no one can ever be safe because the country has become a far more dangerous place,” Olano said.

Amnesty said Duterte has actively created “a climate where anyone can kill or be killed, the poor were the obvious prey but more recently even government officials.”

This situation, according to the human rights watchdog, has given anyone a free reign to commit human rights abuses and violations with impunity where social and political division thrive, leading to greater potential for human rights violations.

“By denying Filipinos of true and lasting justice, this administration will only fuel despair with no limit or end,” the group said.


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