MANILA — Malacañang on Monday said the Philippines’ rejection of several recommendations by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during the Third Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is in line with the country’s prerogative to maintain an independent foreign policy.
In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippines has committed to fully accept 103 out of the 257 recommendations that the country received from UN member states after careful review.
“A careful review and inclusive consultation with inputs from various stakeholders, especially from representatives from the State’s executive, legislative, and judicial departments was done, and in line with our independent foreign policy,” he said.
Among the recommendations accepted by the Philippines include those on the development of a National Human Rights Framework and the protection of rights to health, education and favorable work conditions.
Meanwhile, among the recommendations that the Philippines rejected included Ghana’s recommendation to allow UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard to visit the country and conduct an independent probe on alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the country supposedly resulting from President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
To this, Abella pointed out that there are “certain parameters that need not be infringed upon.”
“This is all part of our prerogative to exercise independent foreign policy. There are certain items that we feel — needs to be acted on and — in order to continue to maintain our constitutional stance of maintaining an independent foreign policy,” he said.
“The UN has accepted what we’ve said. However, it’s just that, we maintain that there are certain parameters that need not be infringed upon,” Abella said.
The Palace official added that what really is important is that the UNHRC has adopted the Philippine report recognizing the country’s human rights record and commitments under the leadership of President Duterte.
In an earlier statement, Abella said: “the adoption of the Philippine UPR Report in Geneva recognizes the human rights record of the Philippines and our country’s commitment to human rights under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.”
He said the UNHRC adoption “likewise reaffirms our respect for the dignity of the Filipino people and the protection of the Filipino family as we strive for a better life in a society free of illegal drugs and other crimes.”