In its 2023 World Report, the organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a review of the human rights violations in the Philippines in 2022.
In a press conference on January 12, 2023, HRW called on the new government under President Marcos to provide justice to all victims of the so-called “war on drugs.” Despite President Marcos’ change in rhetoric on human rights, HRW says the human rights situation itself has “barely changed” since the shift in power, especially as extrajudicial killings continue to take place.
“President Marcos keeps saying […] that he is willing to improve the human rights situation in the Philippines, but this is not going to happen [as] long as the police kill suspected drug users with impunity,” HRW said. Marcos should publicly order the Philippine National Police to end its “deadly anti-drug raids,” the human rights organization demanded. HRW also questioned the “sincerity” of Marcos’ appointees to the Philippine Commission on Human Rights.
Numerous high-ranking police officers have submitted courtesy resignation ahead of an internal investigation by the Philippine National Police. After Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos called for this on January 9, 2023, already 800 officers had resigned by January 11. HRW doubts, however, that this will actually bring about an improvement of the situation of police violence in the Philippines.
Photo © Raffy Lerma