Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima applauded the reintroduction of the Philippine Human Rights Act to the US Congress which happened just few hours short of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) announcement of opening a full investigation into the killings under Duterte’s drug war.
De Lima, a known human rights defender here and abroad, thanked Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District Representative Susan Wild for filing H.R. 3884, which seeks to promote human rights in the Philippines by suspending the provision of security assistance to the country until the government has made human rights-related reforms to the military and police forces.
“The US lawmakers’ steadfast resolve to ensure that the laws of the land and the internationally accepted principles and standards on human rights are respected, protected and promoted in the Philippines is truly remarkable,” she said.
“I thank US Rep. Wild and the 13 other US lawmakers who co-sponsored H.R. 3884 for pushing this bill, which, along with the recent development on the ICC’s drug war investigation, prove that the world never stopped watching and that Duterte should stop promoting violence and killings,” she added.
Last June 14, Wild filed H.R. 3884 which states that no federal funds are to be appropriated to provide assistance to the police or military of the Philippines, including assistance in the form of equipment or training, until all the human rights conditions are met.
The 13 lawmakers who co-sponsored the bill include Reps. Alan Lowenthal, Janice Schakowsky, Henry Johnson Jr., Bobby Rush, Marc Pocan, Omar Ilhan, Dina Titus, Earl Blumenauer, Katie Porter, Grace Meng, Jimmy Gomez, Betty McCollum, and James McGovern.
In an online event organized by Malaya Movement, Kabataan Alliance and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines last June 15, Wild said that the reintroduction of the bill is a sign of standing up for human rights.
“By blocking assistance to Philippine security forces until such time that human rights standards are met, this bill makes a common sense proposition. Standing up for human rights requires more than rhetoric, it requires action,” the US lawmaker said.
Amid the human rights situation in the Philippines, De Lima said the passage of such bill in the US could play a crucial role in the fight for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in the country.
“This bill shows this government that there are great consequences to its blatant disregard for human rights and the rule of law and that Duterte should finally rethink his approach to his murderous and fake drug war,” said De Lima.
Wild first filed the bill in 2020 and it is now with the US House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Financial Services. (30)