By Genalyn Kabiling
President Rodrigo Duterte continues to protect and uphold human rights and believes such rights are “sacred,” a Palace official said Wednesday.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar came to the defense of the President and his human rights record after U2 frontman Bono urged Duterte not to compromise on human rights.
Andanar said they recognize that Bono has his beliefs as a human rights advocate, and that they share his views on the protection of human rights.
“I saw the interview of Bono and we all know he has been a member of Amnesty International for the longest time. He has his beliefs and we actually agree with the fact that human rights should really be upheld, and that’s the policy of the government, that we should protect every person in this country because human rights are sacred,” he said at the sneak preview of the anti-drug war documentary “Gramo” in Malacañang.
Andanar recognized that human rights encompass “so many things, from rights to adequate food, decent housing, work, to healthcare.”
He noted that Duterte signed the Universal Health Care Law, formed a task force on media security, and championed transparency in the executive branch through the implementation of a freedom of information policy.
Andanar said the country’s poverty incidence dropped to 16 percent in 2018 from 23 percent in 2015, while almost 6 million Filipinos were lifted out of poverty last year.
“He is precisely protecting their human right to a better economic future or human right to having financial freedom,” Andanar said about the President.
Bono, who is in Manila for a one-night concert, earlier had a “soft” message to Duterte about human rights protection.
He said Filipinos are “caring, very sophisticated people, and I understand that when progress is made, some people make what they think are compromises for that progress. And I would just say you can’t compromise on human rights. And that’s my soft message.”