DOJ exec: Human rights top priority in all gov’t undertakings

By Benjamin Pulta

May 14, 2024, 6:41 pm

MANILA – All moves by the Marcos administration will be undertaken “with utmost consideration for human rights,” a senior Justice official said on Tuesday.

DOJ Undersecretary Raul Vasquez said this is assured by the creation of the Special Committee on Human Rights Coordination through Administrative Order No. 22 issued by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on May 8.

“The special committee is lodged under the Office of the President, and is clothed with the presidential authority to gather, require and seek the support and cooperation of all government agencies in this effort under the concept of holistic and whole-government approach," Vasquez said during the Bagong Pilipinas public briefing on Tuesday.

He pointed out that the special committee will have coordination functions, unlike the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) which is an independent constitutional body.

"'Yung ating sistema ngayon, gagawin ng ating gobyerno ang kanilang mandato, ang kanilang oblligasyon at responsibilidad sa ating lahat ng mga mamamayan (Under this system, the government will fulfill its mandate and obligations to our citizens) under the prism of human rights)," Vasquez said.

"Ibig sabihin nito ang lahat ng ating mga proyekto at plano, law enforcement, for instance, pati na ‘yang accountability, 'yan ay gagawin ng ating lahat ng mga ahensya sa ilalim ng human rights promotion and protection obligations ng ating pamahalaan (This means that all government projects and plans, such as law enforcement, for instance, and even accountability, all of these will be undertaken by government agencies under the human rights promotion and protection of the government)," he said.

Included in the mandate of the special committee, Vasquez said, is for "a human rights approach on the drugs problem."

On the other hand, he pointed out that the CHR will remain as an independent body that “overseas and monitors human right promotion and protection.” (PNA)