On April 12, 2022, the U.S. Department of State released its 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. It rated reports of human rights violations committed by state security forces in the Philippines as credible.
According to the report, numerous human rights violations were committed by and on behalf of the Philippine Government and non-state actors; these include especially cases of extralegal killings, torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and repression against human rights organizations and the press. The report also criticizes the continuing impunity of perpetrators, the deficient independence of the judiciary as well as the corruption within the Philippine Government. Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana calls these allegations a “witch hunt” and urges the U.S. State Department to provide evidence.
The Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) is rated in particular ineffective by the U.S. State Department in its report. The PNP does not reject the entire report but the allegation of ineffectiveness. In response, the PNP issued a statement releasing data on “internal cleansing”. Between July 2016 and March 2022 about 5,599 employees were dismissed, of which 714 were linked to drug-related cases. The PNP also suspended 10,490 employees.
Moreover, Renato Reyes, secretary general of the human rights group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), calls on the U.S. Government to stop providing military aid to the Duterte administration: ‘From 2016 to 2021, the Philippines received some $600 million in military aid during the time of Duterte, despite the horrible human rights record of the administration.’