Fight for Truth, Justice and Accountability
Volume 21 Number 2 & 3
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 17:01
vol21no2n3The State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was delivered in a context wherein the families of victims, like the mother of Jonas Burgos, are still seeking for truth and justice, human rights violations are committed with impunity, and repressive laws like the Human Security Act of 2007 has been put in place.
No amount of promises can erase the fact that the Arroyo administration is guilty of committing human rights violations either by commission or omission. The rise of incidents of extra-judicial killings, torture, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations by both state and non-state actors shows either the inability or unwillingness of the Arroyo government to address these issues.

The failure of the Arroyo government to address the growing problem of poverty and underdevelopment also proves that despite her grandiose pronouncements during her previous SONAs, the government has still failed to put into place measures and mechanisms that would ensure the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

The veracity of Mrs. Arroyo’s declarations during this SONA and her resolve to truly deliver on her promises should be measured based on the standards of human rights. Mrs. Arroyo’s SONA must first and foremost consider the interest of the people to be the core of her policies, and that the measures that will be instituted are truly reflective of the government’s obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights.

In order to do this, the TFDP calls on the Arroyo government to implement within the first 100 days after her SONA speech the following measures:

1.    Declare as priority legislation bills protecting human rights such as the Anti-Torture bill, the Anti-Enforced Disappearance bill, and the Marcos Compensation Bill.
2.    Work on the implementation of the proposals made by Prof. Philip Alston, the European Union, and the Supreme Court Summit in relation to the issue of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances.
3.    Set doable and measurable targets that will show the government’s commitment to progressively realize the rights to food, housing, health, and other economic, social and cultural rights.

It is sad and frustrating to note that every SONA, the people have not been at the center of whatever the Arroyo government claims as progress in the Philippines. What is needed instead of the usual rhetoric is a human rights based approach to development and governance, where the people are the participants, actors and true beneficiaries of development.

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Last Updated on Friday, 15 January 2010 11:42

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