Malacañang sent an assurance that human rights discussions will not be swept under the rug during the upcoming ASEAN summit.
Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan is confident that the government will participate in discussions on human rights during the ASEAN summit. He was quoted by GMA’s Unang Balita saying, “Mapag-uusapan ‘yan, under the leadership of the DSWD. In fact, meron tayong agreement na mapipirmahan ng ating mga leader, ito yung consensus on the human rights of migrant workers around ASEAN.” [It will be discussed, under the leadership of the DSWD. There will be a signed agreement among leaders about the consensus on the human rights of migrant workers around ASEAN.]
He added,“Human rights will be a big subject during the ASEAN meetings.”
This came after the Duterte administration had been criticized for its alleged human rights violations in the War on Drugs campaign.
Part of the ASEAN summit is US President Donald Trump’s meeting with President Duterte. Trump has been heavily criticized by human rights watchdogs in the US for having “warm rapport” with President Duterte.
Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, was quoted on The Guardian,“The US administration’s announcement suggests a stunning apathy toward the human rights calamity that Duterte has inflicted on the Philippines since taking office.”