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Palace: We don’t condone EJKs

A masked protester displays a placard as they gather for a rally on Mendiola Bridge in Manila to mark International Human Rights Day yesterday. The protesters called on the government to end extrajudicial killings in the country. AP

MANILA, Philippines - Despite growing concerns over rampant rights abuses in President Duterte’s violent war on criminality, the government is one with the international community in observing International Human Rights Day, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said the administration is not tolerating extrajudicial killings, contrary to reports in international media regarding the rising number of deaths in the conduct of Duterte’s war on drugs.

“Yes, we are one with all the Filipino people and all those celebrating worldwide Human Rights Day – we (do not) condone human rights violations and we are against any extrajudicial killings,” Banaag said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

She also said President Duterte and his Cabinet are continuously working to make lives better for the Filipino people as proven by the all-time high consumer confidence index, improving peace and order and the honest-to-goodness campaign against corruption.

“That is so true that this government, this administration, the President is working so hard and it is not all about the drug war, it is all about a lot of things that the President is concerned about and especially so, alleviating the plight of the Filipino people,” she pointed out.

Banaag also underscored the need for the people to look at the more positive developments happening under the barely six-month-old administration rather than focus on the issues brought about by the President’s vicious campaign against drugs.

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“This is what we can see if we focus on the good side, specially now that it is Christmas season, right? That there are many developments in the country, which are subject of the President’s priorities,” she said.

“All sectors in the government are working and doing their best to improve the country, and these are shown in impressions of our fellow countrymen and the positive outlook of the business sector in our country,” Banaag added.

On Friday, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said results of the latest quarter Consumer Expectation Survey (CES) showed a new record confidence index of 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous 2.5 percent in the third quarter.

“This is the second consecutive quarter that consumer confidence registered a positive reading, indicating that the number of households with optimistic views increased and outnumbered those with pessimistic views,” Guinigundo said.

He said the confidence index had been in the negative territory since the CES was launched in the first quarter of 2007. It only turned positive in the third quarter of this year.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and set its observance every Dec.10 in 1950 through resolution 423.

For this year, Human Rights Day is a reaffirmation of “our common humanity” and for everyone to stand up for the rights of others – in the streets, in schools, public transport, and on social media.

“It starts with each of us. Step forward and defend the rights of a refugee or migrant, a person with disabilities, an LGBT person, a woman, a child, indigenous peoples, a minority group or anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence,” the UN said on its website.

 

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