US Sen. Bernie Sanders shared a statement by the International Trade Union Confederation condemning what it described as “a new wave of police repression of Philippine trade unionists” and called for global support on human rights.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP
Palace blasts Sanders on human rights issue
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday lambasted US Sen. Bernie Sanders for accusing the Duterte administration of committing “abhorrent” human rights abuses against workers.

In a tweet posted on Friday, Sanders, a self-described socialist who is seeking nomination as presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, criticized the Philippines’ alleged crackdown on workers, calling it “a shameful attempt to silence people’s rights and freedoms.”

Sanders shared a statement by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) condemning what it described as “a new wave of police repression of Philippine trade unionists” and called for global support on human rights.

The ITUC statement decried the Philippine authorities’ operations against suspected communists in Bacolod City on Oct. 31.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Sanders is just “grandstanding on an issue he obviously does not know the details of.”

He also accused the senator of “meddling” in Philippine affairs.

“What we find abhorrent is that Senator Bernie Sanders and the ITUC refuse to closely look at the facts at hand, and instead choose to make blanket statements that the Philippine government supposedly violates human rights,” Andanar said in a statement.  

“We urge all observers and critics to check their facts as some may fall victim to the lies peddled by communist terrorists – terrorists that have humanitarian organization fronts seeking funding from other legitimate international institutions, only to be used for violence,” he added. 

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Sanders’ remark was a baseless allegation. 

“I think it’s a shameful attempt also on his (Sanders) part to provide information that he did not validate. He was just repeating the things that critics are saying and are being peddled by foreign news agencies,” Panelo said in a radio interview. 

Andanar said no one was hurt during the operations against the suspected rebels in Bacolod. 

“Authorities did not act rashly in any way and actually gathered actionable intel before conducting the raids on the offices of the organizations,” he said. 

“While there were several civilians captured, they were immediately released days after the operations. Hence, the supposed ‘government abuse’ that Sanders and the ITUC claim is already false,” he added. 
Andanar said stringent measures were undertaken during operations to prevent armed clashes with the communists.    

BERNIE SANDERS
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