Philippines

Attacks on the press and critics persist as UN report on the Philippines finds widespread violations

Over the last two months, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, top broadcaster ABS-CBN was forced off the air while prominent journalist Maria Ressa and her former colleague were convicted for ‘cyber-libel’ in another blow for press freedom. The authorities have also pursued journalists and social media users for criticism of the handling of the pandemic. Civil society is seriously concerned that the new anti-terror bill will facilitate abuse of power and erode democracy, while a new UN report details widespread human rights violations and persistent impunity. Human rights defender Teresita Naul remains in prison on trumped up charges while the red-tagging of activists has continued. Read more

Attacks on the press and critics persist as UN report on the Philippines finds widespread violations

Civil society in the Philippines decry restrictive laws, smear campaigns and judicial harassment

Over the last few months, harassment and attacks against journalists and activists have persisted in the Philippines. Attempts were made to shut down ABS-CBN, the largest media network, while cyber-troll armies were mobilised against government critics. Legislation against terrorism is being pushed through that undermines civic freedoms while civil society groups are facing judicial harassment, raids and smear campaigns. Government critic Senator de Lima has spent three years in detention. With the COVID-19 pandemic President Duterte has pushed through legislation that further threatens free speech and abuses against curfew violators have been documented. Read more

Civil society in the Philippines decry restrictive laws, smear campaigns and  judicial harassment

Philippines human rights body launches national inquiry as attacks against activists persist

Over the last few months, critics of the President have been charged with sedition and other offences and journalists have been killed. Further, a anti-fake news bill has been tabled in the Senate which could restrict freedom of expression. Left and indigenous activists have also been killed and there are increasing attacks on lawyers. Read more

Philippines human rights body launches national inquiry as attacks against activists persist

Despite progress on HRD bill, attacks against activists and media persist in the Philippines

A Human Rights Defenders bill moved closer to become law in June 2019 after it was approved by the House of Representatives. Despite this, the UN says the situation of human rights continues to deteriorate. In March 2019, more charges were filed against critical news outlet Rappler while in April 2019, activist Bernardino Patigas was killed by an unknown gunman. Further, NGOs are facing scrutiny under the guise of fighting terrorism and money laundering and are taking the threats against them to the Supreme Court. Read more

Despite progress on HRD bill, attacks against activists and media persist in the Philippines

Indictments against news site Rappler an attempt to intimidate and control the pubic narrative

News website Rappler and its chief Maria Ressa is facing two indictments for cyber-libel and taxation that human rights groups believe to be politically motivated. Government critic Senator Leila de Lima has spent two years in arbitrary detention. In January 2019, Randy Felix Malayao, a human rights defender and peace consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was shot dead Read more

Indictments against news site Rappler an attempt to intimidate and control the pubic narrative

Human rights lawyer assisting families of slain sugar farmers in Sagay gunned down

On 6th November 2018, human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos was gunned down by unidentified men in the Philippines. Ramos had recently been providing free legal assistance to the families of nine sugar farm workers who were killed in Sagay City on 20th October. Read more

Human rights lawyer assisting families of slain sugar farmers in Sagay gunned down

Conviction of former General involved in disappearances of activists important step for justice

In September 2018, the courts convicted retired army General Jovito Palparan, nicknamed "The Butcher" and sentenced him to life imprisonment for the kidnapping of two leftist student activists in 2006. Read more

Conviction of former General involved in disappearances of activists important step for justice

Protests against human rights violations mark Duterte’s two years in power

President Duterte two years in power has seen a disturbing regression on human rights. Thousands of protesters, on 23 July 2018, occupied the road leading to the House of Representatives in Quezon City to protest President Rodrigo Duterte's 3rd State of Nation Address. Other protests were also held across the country. Read more

Protests against human rights violations mark Duterte’s two years in power

Calls for legislation to protect human rights defenders as attacks against them persist

Attacks against human rights defenders continue to be reported. In April 2018, detained Senator Leila de Lima renewed her call for Congress to fast track the passage of the bill aimed at protecting and defending the lives of human rights defenders. An Australian nun who has spent almost three decades in the country is facing deportation Read more

Calls for legislation to protect human rights defenders as attacks against them persist

Environmental rights defender killed as authorities label activists as ‘terrorists’

Environmental and indigenous rights defender Ricardo Mayumi , an opponent of a dam in Ifugao was shot dead. A government petition labelled several local indigenous rights activists as “terrorists”. Read more

Environmental rights defender killed as authorities label activists as ‘terrorists’