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US House members agree to amendment stopping assistance to PNP

Members of the United States (US) House of Representatives have agreed to include an amendment seeking to stop US assistance to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the proposed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023.

In a statement, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) said the amendment limits security assistance to the PNP “until a series of human rights requirements are met.”

“No funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of State are authorized to be made available to provide assistance for the PNP, including assistance in the form of equipment or training,” the amendment read.

The Secretary of State and Defense should certify first that the Philippine government has already “investigated and successfully prosecuted members of the PNP who have violated human rights,” it also said.

The amendment also said it should also be “established that the PNP effectively protect the rights of trade unionists, journalists, human rights defenders, critics of the government, faith and religious leaders and other civil society activists.”

In her remarks on the House floor, Pennsylvania’s Rep. Susan Wild, who introduced the amendment, said US tax should not be used to supply weapons, training, and other forms of assistance to Philippine state security forces over “violent” human rights violations.

“After an estimated 30,000 extrajudicial killings in the Philippines between 2016 and today, after the assassinations, arbitrary arrests, torture, and red-tagging of labor organizers and oppositions leaders, after former President Duterte’s calls for assassinating politically engaged bishops, and after the Philippines has been named year after year by the International Trade Union Confederation as one of the world’s 10 most repressive countries for the labor movement and workers, the time is long overdue to begin putting some basic human rights guardrails in place in the United States-Philippines relationship,” she said.

GMA News Online has sought the comment of Malacanang and the PNP, but they have yet to respond as of posting time. —KBK, GMA News