Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday declared that the Duterte administration is making “real progress” in human rights, specifically in the fight against illegal drugs, with its broadening cooperation and alliances with international institutions.
Locsin made this statement during the presentation of the security, justice and peace cabinet cluster members on their respective achievements as part of the preparation for the State of the Nation (Sona) address of President Duterte on Tuesday, July 26.
“We are making real progress in human rights; while protecting our society from the worst of scourges: drug trafficking that takes over states as in Central America; and drug addiction that destroys its willing victims,” the foreign secretary said.
Locsin noted the broadening cooperation and alliances have paid off, citing, in particular, the United Nations Joint Programme (UNJP) with the Philippines as a partner in a three-year undertaking aimed to promote a human rights-based approach to combating terrorism and illegal drugs in the country.
The UNJP is in line with Human Rights Council Resolution 45/33, adopted in October 2020, and reaffirms Philippines’ commitment to actively engage with the international community in addressing the country’s human rights concerns.
“With the now finalized UN Joint Program, we strengthen national institutions to promote and protect human rights by technical assistance and capacity-building; even as we battle the worst of human rights abuses: drug trafficking and drug addiction,” Locsin said.
Locsin maintained that the Philippine human rights program is rooted in Duterte’s directive for constructive and open engagement with the UN in a “non-politicized” manner.
“Nobody dictates to us how to protect our own people. But where we need it, we welcome help,” he said.
Various human rights groups have criticized the Duterte administration for its bloody campaign against illegal drugs that led to the death of more than 6,000 individuals.
In June this year, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has officially sought authorization to open an investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed under Duterte’s anti-illegal drug campaign.