PH tells US: ‘Let’s discuss human rights’

Published August 6, 2022, 4:22 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo on Saturday assured the US that the Philippines is open to discuss concerns on human rights.

During US State Secretary Antony Blinken’s visit to the Philippines, Manalo told him that the country recognized that democracy “will always be a work in progress,” so the Philippines agreed to maintain “open lines of communication” to discuss human rights issues.

“We touched on the very foundation of our partnership: our common values and shared commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and human rights,” Manalo said in a press conference, discussing which topics he and Blinken talked about during their virtual meeting.

Manalo also urged Blinken and the US “to actively contribute to cultivating a constructive environment within the UN (United Nations) Human Rights Council.”

In doing so, Manalo said he recognized “the importance of financial and technical assistance to support national institutions in the areas of human rights.”

Blinken confirmed discussing human rights issues with Manalo as well as with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., with whom he had talked earlier, as part of “strengthening democracy” of both countries.

“The United States committed to working collaboratively with the Philippines to defend the rule of law,” Blinken said in a joint presser with Manalo.

For Blinken, human rights and other fundamental freedoms are “critical” to the US-Philippines alliance as “they are essential in building the future that the people of the Philippines want and deserve.”