By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – The Marcos administration has presented to United Nations Special Rapporteur Irene Khan the “real” record of the human rights situation in the Philippines, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) said on Thursday.
Officials of various government agencies met with Khan to discuss the current status of human rights in the country, including the freedom of expression and press freedom, PTFoMS executive director Undersecretary Paul Gutierrez said during the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon Program aired over state-run PTV-4.
Gutierrez said Khan’s visit to the Philippines will be an “eye opener” to the UN, considering that the international body is also getting “inaccurate” information about the status of human rights in the Philippines.
“Unang-una po, on our part sa gobyerno, naipakita po natin muli ang ating transparency, ang atin pong openness, ang atin pong kahandaan ng pakikipag dayalogo sa kahit sino (First of all, on our part in the government, we have once again shown our transparency, our openness, our readiness to engage in dialogue with anyone),” he said.
“We have made that impression na talaga naman pong taliwas sa mga negatibong ulat na nakakarating po sa tanggapan ng UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (that the information from the government is in contrast with negative reports that the UN Commissioner for Human Rights is receiving),” Gutierrez added.
Gutierrez said the Philippine government is “more credible” because it is in charge of addressing the human rights issues with “complete” process, alongside a “strong and stable” justice system.
He said Khan also met with officials of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the government, including the PTFoMs, the Justice and Local Government departments, the National Privacy Commission, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, Congress, the Supreme Court.
Khan also met with officials of the Philippine News Agency, the Philippine Information Agency, the Presidential Broadcast Service-Bureau of Broadcast Services, and local officials in Baguio, Tacloban, and Cebu.
He said Khan expressed her appreciation for the government’s collaborative effort to address the issues on human rights.
“Ang maganda po dito na nakikita natin ay kinikilala po niya na gumagana naman po ang ating mga proseso (The good thing we see here is that she acknowledges that our processes are working),” Gutierrez said.
“Meron lang po siyang mga ilang obserbasyon na alam naman po natin na sa dakong huli ay matutugunan po ng Pilipinas kapag inilabas na po niya ang kanyang mga rekomendasyon (She only has a few observations that we know will eventually be addressed by the Philippines when she issues her recommendations),” he added.
Gutierrez said the government offices’ willingness to accept and meet with visitors like Khan signifies the Marcos administration’s resolve to show that democracy in the country remains “vibrant,” especially when it comes to the Philippine media’s right to press freedom.
He said he also informed Khan that four media killing cases reported under the Marcos administration are now considered “solved.”
Gutierrez said Khan’s “last-minute” request to meet with the Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Thursday afternoon was granted.
He said he is not privy to the issues that would be tackled during the meeting between Khan and Bersamin.
He, however, said Bersamin received a briefer last night on the “potential area or concern” that Khan would raise. (PNA)