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Duterte’s real legacy is assault on human rights, group says amid ‘worsening’ situation

The Philippines' human rights "crisis" worsened in 2019, a non-government rights organization said Wednesday as it condemned the Duterte administration's policies for "creating a hostile environment for ordinary Filipinos."

In a statement, the Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) said that it made this conclusion based on the findings of its newly released report, "The Killing State: 2019 Philippine Human Rights Situationer."

“If we talk of [President Rodrigo] Duterte’s real legacy, his administration needs to look no further than the thousands of dead bodies found in city streets and the countryside,” PhilRights executive director Nymia Pimentel-Simbulan said.

Pimentel-Simbulan said that Duterte’s principle of governance is rooted in violence.

According to her, this principle can be seen through the continuation of the war on drugs; the alleged escalation of attacks on human rights defenders, activists, and the media; and the disregard for social and economic justice.

“The president’s impulse for violence has had a profoundly negative impact on the rights and dignity of many Filipinos,” Pimentel-Simbulan said.

She also questioned the administration’s revival of death penalty.

In the report, PhilRights said that Memorandum No. 32 and Executive Order No. 70, which aim to end local communist armed conflict, resulted in more attacks against rights defenders, activists, and the media.

The report also highlighted the administration’s alleged failure on food security, employment, and farmers’ issues over the Rice Tariffication Law.

“In 2019, it became even clearer that this administration is massively beholden to the interests of the powerful few, at the expense of the economic, social, and cultural rights of our citizens,” Pimentel-Simbulan said.

“We believe that our people, guided by the ideals of principles of human rights and democratic rule, can seize this country from the clutches of authoritarianism,” she added. — Joviland Rita/BM, GMA News