human rights in the Philippines

Human rights in the Philippines: Latest news, campaigns

Human rights in the Philippines: Latest news, campaigns


The Philippines’ human rights situation is dire, with the number of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, and attacks against activists and critics unparalleled since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.

This is made worse by the Duterte government’s inadequate and militarized response to the pandemic that has brought us to this: more than a million COVID-19 cases by May 2. Failed contact tracing, confusing protocols, delayed assistance to those who needed it most, incoherent policies, lack of transparency, and a slow vaccine rollout – all these have led to the abuse of basic human rights: the right to live, to work, to study, and to be protected by the state.

What can we do?

Several human rights groups and organizations including MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm, have banded together for the “#CourageON: No lockdown on rights” coalition. The coalition aims to keep watch on abuses and violations and identify opportunities for collective action to promote and defend human rights.

Bookmark and refresh this page for campaigns, action points, and insights from partners of the #CourageON coalition, as well as news updates on the human rights situation in the Philippines.


CHR to DOJ: Don’t forget thousands of drug war deaths waiting for justice

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday, October 20, reminded the Duterte government not to ignore the thousands of victims killed under the violent war on drugs, as the Department of Justice (DOJ) released information about cases it is investigating.

While the commission welcomed the matrix that featured 50 drug war-related deaths, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said that ensuring justice for all victims of “widespread and systematic” human rights violations is a “primary state obligation.”

“While we see movement, CHR continues to urge the government to remain mindful of the remaining thousands of alleged EJK cases waiting for resolution and justice,” she said in a statement.

Read more here.

Jodesz Gavilan

PNP kept drug war abuses internal, imposed light penalties – DOJ matrix

The Philippine police kept its investigations into the drug war deaths internal despite findings of abuses and lapses in protocol, and imposed light penalties on the erring cops, a Department of Justice matrix (DOJ) showed.

The DOJ on Wednesday, October 20, released a matrix of over 50 cases of deaths in police anti-drug operations that it examined as part of an ongoing review. These cases are just a speck of the more than 7,000 deaths in police anti-drug operations.

The Philippine National Police was only willing to share the case folders of these cases because the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) had already established administrative liability in those cases.

The DOJ matrix exposes a pattern of glaring lapses, such as shooting a victim 15 times but making no report as well as an autopsy, yet the PNP didn’t file criminal complaints in relation to such cases.

Read more here.

Lian Buan

Prelude to 2022? Thousands of grassroots organizers arrested, hundreds killed

Law of Duterte Land Podcast: Human rights as an election agenda

Do you want an anti-red tagging policy in your campus? Check out DLSU USG’s toolkit

As red-tagging remains rampant, is there a way for students to be better protected, especially in our institutions and schools?

This question spurred the De La Salle University Student Government (DLSU USG) to push for an anti-red tagging policy in their university, and later, a toolkit that would allow others to set up a similar effort in their school.

Since 2020, the DLSU USG had been working on an anti-red tagging policy which will set in place avenues for the DLSU community to file complaints, and protocols for investigation when people linked to the university are found red-tagging the university’s students, faculty and staff.

The tool kit features a policy guide, brief and template, among other necessary files that student councils, youth groups, and other organizations can use as a guide in crafting their own policies to protect their communities from red-tagging and other forms of attacks such as threatsarrests, among others.

Read more here.

Waya Lao

Mobility advocates say public transpo needed to solve traffic, not PAREX

With press freedom under attack, PH journos amplify call to fight back

Challenges that emerged amid the repeated attacks by the Duterte administration on Philippine media took center stage at the 2021 Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism Seminar, which saw eight seasoned journalists come together in a virtual forum to discuss best practices to uphold press freedom.

ABS-CBN News Channel anchor Christian Esguerra, one of the eight panelists, pointed out that not only did President Rodrigo Duterte become the biggest threat to the press, his existence also caused journalists to doubt their stories, and themselves.

Read more here.

Dwight de Leon

Rule of law under Duterte drops 51 places in 6 years, among Asia’s worst

The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte is now ranked at 102 out of 139 countries in terms of rule of law, according to the 2021 World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index – diving 51 places in six years since the strongman took over.

“Philippines’ overall rule of law score decreased 2.9% in this year’s Index. At 102nd place out of 139 countries and jurisdictions worldwide, Philippines fell three positions in global rank,” the WJP said in its release of the 2021 index Thursday, October 14.

In 2015, the Philippines was ranked 51 but it significantly dropped to 70 when Duterte became president in 2016 and has been on a tailspin since. The Philippines was ranked 91st in 2020.

Read more here.

Lian Buan

‘Climate of fear’ stops drivers from protesting fuel-price hikes in Cagayan de Oro

Join the #FaceShieldChallenge to stand against alleged corruption during pandemic

The #CourageON: No Lockdown on Rights coalition and #PHVote coalition have banded together to stage an online campaign condemning alleged corruption during the pandemic.

Here’s how you can participate in this campaign:

Here are just some of the entries of people taking a stand against corruption during the pandemic through the #FaceShieldChallenge:

Make your voice heard by joining #CourageON and #PHVote’s #FaceShieldChallenge. Check this out for more details about the campaign.