The National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) reiterated its continued opposition to…
Threat to PH democracy posed by human rights defenders’ bill: NTF-ELCAC
On Monday, the Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) warned that if passed into law, House Bill (HB) No. 77, also known as the proposed Human Rights Defenders Protection Act, would endanger the nation’s democratic way of life.
The House Committee on Human Rights issued a statement on Monday warning that the impending approval of HB No. 77, also known as the “Human Rights Defenders’ Protection Act” (HRDPA), before the House of Representatives on February 28, 2023, was a serious, vicious, and sneaky threat to the democratic way of life in the Philippines.
Assistant Solicitor General Karen A. Ong and ASG Angelita Villanueva Miranda co-chair the NTF-ELCAC LCC.
HB 77, according to the argument, will reduce statutes like the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Anti-Money Laundering Law as modified, and the Terrorist Financing Prevention and Suppression Act, among others, to “simply toothless paper tigers” if it becomes law.
The HRDPA “suffers from a multiplicity of grave constitutional and legal weaknesses,” according to the NTF-ELCAC LCC, including:
a) The term “human rights defender” is defined in a nebulous and deceptive manner that, in essence, includes any criminal, rebel, terrorist, or state enemy;
b) The Bill provides those who declare themselves to be human rights defenders with unwarranted preferential treatment by guaranteeing their protection. In fact, the development of “sanctuaries” or secure refuges for “high-risk human rights defenders” and/or their immediate families is required by Section 37 of the Bill. Evidently, by only claiming to be “human rights defenders” eligible for the protection of the bill, criminals or terrorists may seek sanctuary in safe havens, shielded from prosecution and law enforcement;
c) The Commission on Human Rights authority and functions were encroached upon by the bill that calls for the establishment of a committee to protect human rights defenders. Since it will include members from organizations or sympathizers with “Communist Terrorist Group” (CTG) ties, including Karapatan, Flag, PAHRA, and NUPL, the aforementioned Committee violates the requirement for independence;
d) Since the Bill sought to implement a non-binding United Nations (UN) Resolution dated December 9, 1998, which is not even a treaty under international law, it is a clear encroachment by the legislature into the exclusive domain of the Executive branch of the government – a prerogative that is only vested by Constitutional fiat and the intrinsic nature of the President’s office as the Chief Architect of the country’s foreign relations;
e) The Bill tries to establish “sanctuaries” that effectively place the CTG outside the purview of law enforcement, which is directly at odds with the clear language of the aforementioned UN Resolution that it just articulates existing rights rather than creating new ones;
f) The Bill directly violates the legislative intent of Republic Act No. 9160 because it forbids, among other things, the freezing and sequestration of funds and resources that have been solicited, regardless of their nature. This will result in the Philippines’ violation of its commitments under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
“Aside from its many flaws, HB No. 77 is an obvious attempt to undermine the variety of programs and projects being carried out by the State using the whole-of-nation approach, including the expanded Barangay Development Program (BDP), relentless legal assault, and increased information and education campaign. HB No. 77, HB No. 407, and other related bills are without a doubt the CTG’s overt attempt to undermine the NTF-ELCAC and slow down our unrelenting efforts to put an end to the communist armed conflict “body tacked on.
The task group also emphasized the importance of being knowledgeable, aware, and watchful against laws that may appear to be “helpful” but are actually harmful and dangerous to the nation.
The vigilance is required since the communist insurgency’s decades-long destruction and carnage will inevitably affect Filipinos, it was stated.
“Thus, the NTF-ELCAC through its Legal Cooperation Cluster calls on all Filipinos to categorically reject HB No. 77 and to enjoin their District Representatives to rubbish the said Bill on sight, upon its introduction in the plenary for its Second Reading,” the organization stated.***
We appreciate your reading. 😊Simple Ways To Say Thanks & Support Us:
1.) ❤️Give a Tip. If you would like to make a small donation to support us, please give a tip thru PayPal at https://paypal.me/SocialBoostVA😊❤️
Subscribers in the Philippines can make donations to mobile number 0917 906 3081, by using the GCash website or GCash mobile application.
2.) Be one of our SPONSOR. We can published your promotions, PR stories/news articles with contact details as an additional exposure of your company products and services.
3.) 👍 Give this news article a Thumbs Up, Leave a Comment (at Least Five Words), and Share!
Cebuano English Filipino