Passage of Human Rights Defender legislation sought

By Mavic Conde


Will President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. back a bill for human rights defenders?


One way to tell his commitment to protect human rights is his response to the refiling of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act as House Bill No. 77.


“The avowal of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to fully respect human rights will be put to the test by this bill,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a press release.


According to Lagman, there are human rights defenders because the government failed to fully protect, promote, and fulfill human rights. “It’s both an indictment and symptom of the failure and neglect” on the government’s part, he said.


During his meeting last month with United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator to the Philippines Gustavo Gonzales, Marcos guaranteed that human rights will be protected under his watch.


Identical bills made it to the third and final reading in the House of Representatives during the 17th and 18th Congresses. But, according to Lagman, those were not acted upon due to time constraints.


House Bill No. 10576 or the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act was passed on the third reading at the HOR on January 17. The Makabayan bloc legislators have previously filed kindred bills, according to Lagman.