Makabayan solon ditches aversion for Americans, asks Biden for help on PH human rights situation

Published January 22, 2021, 6:08 PM

by Ben Rosario

After blaming Americans for a number of ills that have befallen Philippine democracy, a Makabayan lawmaker is now turning to US President Joseph R. Biden Jr. for help in addressing the allegedly worsening human rights situation under the Duterte administration.

Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdie Gaite Facebook / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a press statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite aired hopes that Biden “would take a stronger position on the human rights situation in the Philippines.”

Gaite wants the Biden administration to review its program of military support to the country.

“Trump largely ignored this issue and sustained its military aid to the regime amidst issues of rights violations. We hope President Biden would support the enactment of the Philippine Human Rights Act championed last year by Democratic Rep. Susan Wild and 23 other members of the US Congress,” said Gaite.

The opposition solon wants Biden to “undo most of Trump’s legacy and to restore American democracy.”

Wild filed the bill last September which, as stated in its title, seeks “to suspend the provision of security assistance to the Philippines until the Government of the Philippines has made certain reforms to the military and police forces.”

“President Biden has sworn to reverse the inhumane policies of his predecessor, we hope this would extend to his foreign policy, and the consideration of this bill remains urgent as the human rights situation in our country worsens,” noted Gaite.

He added: “Killings remain unabated, and the abuses committed by men in uniform continue to pile up. This could aggravate further as the regime looks forward to the full implementation of the undemocratic Anti-Terror Act.”

Gaite said there is a need for the Biden government to “immediately review the plan to sell hellfire missiles, attack helicopters, assault boats, and other armaments to the Duterte administration totaling to more than $2,000,000,000. “

“These weapons would excessively aggravate the state of human rights in the country, and bolster the tyranny of the regime. He could go on and continue Trump’s support to the assault on human rights in the Philippines or he could abrogate these military deals and genuinely commit to the cause of human rights,” Gaite said.