Malacañang said Thursday the government has never been remiss in its duty to help victims of human rights violations.

ROQUE 3 - Palace: Gov’t never remiss in helping human rights victims
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Chile President Michelle Bachelet said there is an “urgent need” to revoke policies and end rhetoric that lead to killings in the Philippines.

Roque said the government will rely on local institutions in providing remedies to those who claimed they are victims of harassment, violence, and drug-related deaths even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the government was never remiss in its duty to help victims of human rights violations.

“We are not in default of our obligation to provide victims with an adequate domestic remedy,” he said.

Roque said that the Philippines has working institutions that hold any person in authority accountable for their wrongdoings.

“With all due respect to Madame Bachelet, as a former President of Chile, she knows that we have domestic institutions to promote accountability. We will rely on these domestic institutions,” he said.

“As of now, all institutions, whether it be the DoJ (Department of Justice), the courts, the CHR (Commission on Human Rights), and the — other remedies are available to those who claim to be victims of human rights violations,” he added.

Speaking before the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) this week, Bachelet expressed concern over the continued human rights violations in the Philippines and called for the government to revoke policies that result in these deaths.

“Beyond this initial process, there is clearly an urgent need to revoke the policies that continue to result in killings and other human rights violations, to bring to justice the perpetrators, and to halt the use of rhetoric inciting violence against people who use or sell drugs,” she said.

Data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that 7,884 people have died in police operations from July 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2020.

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