by PhilRights Staff

Welcome to HR Insights, a weekly roundup of human rights news in the Philippines. This week…

Duterte criticized for human rights remarks during SONA

During his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, Duterte dropped the immediately infamous line: “Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives” which earned criticisms from various individuals and rights groups.

Duterte yet again attempted to discredit human rights advocates by accusing them of being silent on “drug-lordism” while only blaming the administration on the killings, according to the Philippine Star.

“It baffles us how someone who backed and directed the killings of thousands of Filipinos can muster the audacity to claim that he’s fighting for human lives. He’s utterly shameless,” Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said.

Duterte vowed in his SONA that his campaign against drugs will continue which took approximately 20,000 lives.

View PhilRights’ own response to Duterte’s statement here.

PH ranked second deadliest country for ‘green activists’

During his third State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that environmental protection is one of his top priorities. Realities on the ground prove otherwise as a world report from Global Witness revealed that the Philippines had the second highest number of killings of land and environment defenders in 2017.

A total of 48 ‘green activists’ were killed in the country last year—topping all countries in Asia. The report also cited the coffee plantation massacret near Lake Sebu as one of the major cases of killings in the Philippines. This incident led to a total of at least 213 affected: “eight dead, five wounded, and forcing to 200 flee.”

Global Witness, an environment and human rights advocacy group, stated that institutions have the means to make a difference so they must use it to act on the problem rather than be part of it.

Read the full Global Witness report here.

Hunger in Metro Manila, Mindanao increased in Q2 2018

According to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, hunger in Metro Manila and Mindanao increased in the second quarter of 2018.

“Quarterly Hunger rose by 7.0 points in Metro Manila, from 6.0% (est. 190,000 families) in March 2018 to 13.0% in June 2018,” the pollster said. In Mindanao, quarterly hunger rose by 4.0 points “from 7.3% (est. 390,000 families) in December to 11.3% in June.”

Balance Luzon and Visayas, however, experienced a drop in hunger rates.

Review the SWS survey here.

MUST READ: Duterte’s SONA 2018 [Full Text]

President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 23.

In a Rappler article, journalist Marites Vitug said that Duterte’s speech clearly stated the bills he wanted to pursue. His address, however, only included only “operational details” and not the “big picture” of his plans. Political Science professor Carmel Abao also told Rappler that Duterte did not mention new plans aside from the Bangsamoro Organic Law and federalism.

The third SONA lasted for only 48 minutes. This is so far the shortest compared to his two previous addresses.

Meanwhile, almost 40,000 individuals, fronted by human rights and civil society groups converged in protest along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City to express the people’s anger in the long list of human rights violations and abuses committed by the Duterte regime. See PhilRights’ photo coverage of the protests here.  

Read Duterte’s third SONA here.

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