3 EJK-related convictions not enough for PH to maintain GSP+ status — EU representative

Three convictions out of the 6,000 alleged cases of extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines are "not enough" to ensure that the country will continue enjoying the benefits of the European Union's (EU's) Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status.

EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore made this assessment as he concluded his three-day visit to Manila to talk about human rights.

While the Philippines has made progress in a number of areas covered by the GSP conventions including on environment, governance and social development agenda, Gilmore said more needs to be done to ensure effective implementation of all human rights conventions.

Citing the slow progress of prosecution and conviction of people responsible for the victims of EJKs, he called for “more accountability to bring justice to the victims of the drug wars."

It is a crucial task for the government though, as the Philippines' GSP+ status—a scheme that grants zero-tariffs on exports to the EU—is set to expire in December 2023.

To continue enjoying such a benefit, the European Union (EU) obliges its beneficiary countries to adhere to the 27 international conventions, which include human rights.

"Doing business with the EU means addressing human rights issues," Gilmore said.

Gilmore was in the Philippines for the first time as the EU's Special Representative for Human Rights.

While in the country, he met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, and the chief of Philippine police's Human Rights Office, Gen. Vincent Calanoga, among others.

He also met with detained and former senator Leila de Lima, whose freedom he is calling for.