At the end of 2012, several organisations urged the Philippines government to pass the Human Rights Defenders Act House Bill 5379[1] introduced in October 2011 before the House of Representatives in Congress.[2] However, these calls remain unanswered. The bill, which was drafted by local CSOs Karapatan (Human Rights Organisation Alliance) and Tannggol Bayl (Defend Women), was re-introduced (as House Bill 1472) in July 2013.[3] However, no congressional hearing has yet been set on the bill.

According to representatives of Karapatan contacted by PI, there is currently little hope that the bill will pass, as both the Filipino Congress and the Executive are mired in a scandal over misuse of public funds for development projects, while other laws concerning human rights have not been seriously implemented, despite increasing threats, criminalisation and even killings of HRDs, particularly those defending the rights of indigenous peoples.[4] This is compounded by the seeming lack of action by the Filipino Commission on Human Rights regarding cases of human rights abuses.[5]



[1] Republic of the Philippines. House of Representatives. House Bill 5379. At http://congress.gov.ph/download/basic_15/HB05379.pdf

[2] Bulatlat.com. “Passing of Law Protection Human Rights Defenders Urged”. 13 December 2012.

[3] Republic of the Philippines. House of Representatives. House Bill 1472. At http://congress.gov.ph/download/basic_16/HB01472.pdf

[4] Protection International e-mail communication with Karapatan Alliance representatives. 13 and 14 August 2014.

[5] Ibid.

 

***This information originates from PI’s publication – FOCUS 2014.