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Philippines : De Lima seeks to rescind order on increased deployment of soldiers, policemen.

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged Mr. Duterte to rescind his order deploying additional troops to Samar, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and Bicol Region where there are increasing numbers of killings in the past weeks.

De Lima, a human rights and social justice champion, said Mr. Duterte, in issuing his Memorandum Order No. 32 last Nov. 22, 2018, practically placed these areas under martial law in the guise of suppressing lawless violence.

The lady Senator from Bicol lamented that most of the victims came from the ranks of human rights advocates and peasants who were simply pushing for their rights under the law and fighting for their welfare and livelihood.

Among them were Bicol-based human rights activists Ryan Hubilla, Nelly Bagalasa and Neptali Morada. Hubilla and Bagalasa were killed in Sorsogon last June 15 while Morada was gunned down Naga City last June 17. In addition, 14 farmers were killed in alleged anti-criminality operations conducted by Philippine National Police (PNP) on March 30, 2019 in in Negros Oriental.

According to human rights group Karapatan, at least 134 human rights defenders have been killed since June 2016. Other international organizations have raised alarm over what they called as "rapidly-growing human rights crisis" in the Philippines.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, blamed the killings on Duterte's order to deploy additional forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP to suppress lawlessness violence in the said areas.

Last Monday, De Lima has refiled her Human Rights Defenders' Protection Bill in the 18th Congress to give protection to human rights advocates against harassment and violence, especially from state forces.

In the 17th Congress, she filed Senate Bill No. 1699, the counterpart bill of the House human rights defenders protection bill. However, her proposed measure has remained unacted upon by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Her proposed bill seeks to guarantee HRDs rights and fundamental freedoms, including right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, rights against vilification, right to freedom of movement, right to privacy, freedom from intimidation or reprisal, and freedom from intimidation or reprisal, among others.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jul 9, 2019
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