President Rodrigo Duterte has shown respect for human rights through various initiatives in his first three years in office, a Malacañang official said Wednesday.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar issued the statement after visiting U2 frontman Bono told Duterte on Tuesday that the Chief Executive could not compromise on human rights amid criticism of the Philippines’ war on drugs.
“My impression of the Philippines is very caring, very sophisticated people. I understand that when progress is made, sometimes people make what they think are compromises for that progress,” Bono told a news conference.
“And I would just say, you can’t compromise on human rights. That's my soft message to President Duterte,” he added.
Responding to Palace reporters, Andanar said: “We actually agree with the fact that human rights should be upheld and that’s the policy of the government that we should protect every person in this country because human rights is sacred.”
Andanar then enumerated the government’s initiatives in upholding human rights in the Philippines.
The Palace official said Duterte signed the Universal Health Care Law, created a task force on media security and advocated transparency in governance through his executive order on freedom of information covering all offices under the President’s control and supervision.
Andanar also said nearly 6 million Filipinos have been lifted out of poverty between 2015 and 2018.
Bono and the rest of U2 band will have their first gig in the country on Wednesday evening at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“I just want him [Bono] to rock the stadium at the Philippine Arena tonight,” Andanar said. “Finally they’re here in the Philippines during the term of President Duterte.” — RSJ, GMA News