CHR-7 vigilant on Duterte’s pledge
Though happy with President Rodrigo Duterte’ s pronouncements to adhere to the rule of law in the implementation of his all out war against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption, the Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) vowed to stay vigilant under the Duterte administration.
“Good to know the President knows the limits of his power and authority. The government is very powerful, it has all the resources to fight corruption and criminality, it has more than 160 thousand policemen mandated to enforce the laws. In the performance of their sacred duties, the power is prone to abuse not only by the security sector but by those who are in power such as local chief executives,” said CHR-7 Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Arvin Odron.
According to Odron, while CHR is mandated as the official National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) to always support government’s efforts in fighting illegal drugs and corruption to give people the opportunity to fully develop themselves freely and in a manner consistent with human dignity,
“We need to remind the government of its legal obligation to consider what we call a human rights-based approach in the implementation of its policies and programs.”
However noble and praiseworthy Duterte’s intentions are, if in the process the basic human rights of the people are disrespected and abused, “government can never justify such action and is always answerable for it,” he added.
Any effort to fight illegal drugs and corruption, must always respect human rights and the rule of law as this will temper any inclination of the government to abuse power, he said.
Odron also reminded the police force and local chief executives not to abuse their authority.
“A suspected criminal who has the right to a presumption of innocence is nothing compared to a very powerful government,” he said.
Duterte’s inaugural speech last Thursday was greeted by mixed reactions in Cebu from those who were eager to see the President get started with his programs to those who appeared lukewarm to his promise of change.
The president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu Chapter Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante said having a former mayor as President should be an advantage for local chief executives.
Diamante said he admired the words of the new president especially on transparency and bringing back the people’s trust in the government.
“Nindot kaayo iyang mga storya. Nag-tan-aw ko sa TV sa iyang meeting with Cabinet members, maayo kaayo (His speech was very good. I watched on TV his meeting with Cabinet members, and it was very good). President Duterte was once a mayor so he knows the struggles in the local scene,” Diamante told Cebu Daily News.
Diamante also lauded the president for saying that he will not serve the interests of one or a few but of all the Filipino people.
“People really have to trust in government again. We should all be united and help each other,” Diamante said.
For his part, Cebu City South District Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa (BO-PK), who earlier took his oath with Duterte’s Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said the President’s speech was easy to understand for the people.
“The message is sincere, direct to the point, and a clear statement of how he will initially fulfill his campaign promise of making a meaningful change in our country,” Abellanosa told CDN in a text message.
Abellanosa said this should immediately be translated to positive experiences that can be felt by ordinary citizens.
CDN tried to get the comment of other Cebu officials. However, many of those called declined saying that they had not heard nor seen the President’s inaugural speech.
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who took her oath of office at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Provincial Capitol along with Gov. Hilario Davide III said she planned to review the President’s speech since she was not able to witness it.
Second District Representative Wilfredo Caminero and Peter John Calderon of the 7th District both said that they were also unable to see the speech while other provincial officials contacted by CDN did not respond to the text messages.
Meanwhile, telco provider, Globe Telecom, welcomed Duterte’s commitment to improve government services by reducing bureaucratic red tape.
In a statement, Globe expressed hope that this will lead to the standardization of LGU permits and fast track the approval process of securing permits to build cell sites and right-of-way.
“We are optimistic that the policy direction made by President Duterte will be immediately implemented and thus shorten the permitting process for cell sites and right-of-way,” said Globe General Counsel Froilan Castelo.
Globe has actively lobbied for the reduction of the 25 permits needed to build cell sites with an approval period of at least 8 months.
“Our commitment to the Duterte administration is to improve internet services in one year. We can do this if we have the full support of the LGUs and other government agencies in fast-tracking the permits in our roll-out,” Castelo said.
At his inaugural speech, Duterte directed all department secretaries and heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all permit applications from submission to release.
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