US reveals 'credible reports' of 'significant human rights abuses' in PH
US reveals 'credible reports' of 'significant human rights abuses' in PH
US reveals 'credible reports' of 'significant human rights abuses' in PH
by John Dexter Tilo15 April 2022
Photo courtesy of Philippine National Police.

The United States has made known that it received "credible reports" of "significant human rights abuses" in the Philippines that was committed by and on behalf of the government.

"There were credible reports that members of the security forces committed numerous abuses," the US said in its 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Philippines.

According to the report, the "significant human rights issues" included cases of:

  • unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings, by and on behalf of the government and nonstate actors
  • forced disappearance by and on behalf of the government and nonstate actors
  • torture by and on behalf of the government and nonstate actors
  • harsh and life-threatening prison conditions
  • arbitrary detention by and on behalf of the government and nonstate actors
  • serious problems with the independence of the judiciary
  • arbitrary and unlawful interference with privacy
  • serious abuses in a conflict, including unlawful recruitment or use of child soldiers by terrorists and groups in rebellion against the government
  • serious restrictions on free expression and media, including violence, threats of violence, and unjustified arrests or prosecutions of journalists, censorship, and the use of criminal libel laws to punish journalists
  • high-level and widespread government corruption
  • serious government restrictions on or harassment of domestic human rights organizations
  • threats and violence against labor activists

The report acknowledged that the government was able to investigate a "limited number of reported human rights abuses," including ones committed by its own forces, but concerns of police impunity continued after increase in killings by police in 2016.


It stated that that the Philippine National Police's Internal Affairs Service (PNP IAS) was "largely ineffective," citing that the institutional deficiencies and public perception that corruption was endemic in the organization continued.

"Significant concerns also persisted about impunity for other security forces, civilian national and local government officials, and powerful business and commercial figures," it said.

The report added that the country has "slow" judicial processes that is an obstacle to bringing government officials allegedly involved in human rights abuses to justice.

"Officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Muslim separatists, communist insurgents, and terrorist groups continued to attack government security forces and civilians, causing displacement of civilians and resulting in the deaths of security force members and civilian," it said.


"Terrorist organizations engaged in kidnappings for ransom, bombings of civilian targets, beheadings, and the use of child soldiers in combat or auxiliary roles," it added.

"These actions were at times investigated and prosecuted, although there were credible allegations that charges were often leveled for political reasons."

PNP 'opposes' the report

The PNP in a statement cried foul to the report and said it wished to oppose claims made in it, citing that its internal cleansing program dismissed 5,599 cops from July 2016 to March 2022.


"PNP wishes to oppose the statement from the recent report of the United States Department of State's latest annual country reports on human rights stating that IAS remained largely ineffective," it said in a statement.

"Although we are not completely disregarding this report, the PNP would like to respond to it with all the significant accomplishments of IAS."

According to the PNP, it is "unfair" that they are regarded as an organization that tolerates impunity and human rights abuses.

"The PNP will always stand for what is right, just and fair. Although it’s going to be an uphill battle for the PNP, we will be enforcing the law without fear and favor. We will continuously improve our system and organization in order to protect and serve the Filipino community," it stated.

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