Philippines: Politics and Government:Written question - HL17465

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 24 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Philippines: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of the Philippines about (1) President Duterte’s treatment of his political opponents, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Vice President Leni Robredo, Congressmen Antonio Tinio and Ariel Casilao, Senator Risa Hontiveros, and Senator Leila de Lima, (2) upholding human rights and media freedom, (3) plans to reintroduce the death penalty, and (4) plans to amend the constitution to move towards a more federal government structure.
A
Answered on: 13 August 2019

The British Government regularly raises concerns about a range of troubling human rights issues in the Philippines with the Government, including the treatment of human rights defenders, the deteriorating space for political debate, reintroduction of the death penalty and media freedom.

The UK co-sponsored an Icelandic resolution on the human rights situation in the Philippines at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in July which highlighted these concerns. The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the Philippines raised our human rights concerns with Cabinet Secretaries in February 2019. We also discussed human rights with Philippines Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Enrique Manalo during the UK-Philippines High Level Talks in Manila in November 2018.

The British Government hosted a global conference on Media Freedom on 10-11 July. The prominent Philippine human rights defender and journalist, Maria Ressa, was one of the key speakers.

The British Embassy in Manila is closely following the cases of sedition filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in July against 36 opposition figures, including Maria Lourdes Sereno, Vice President Leni Robredo, Congressmen Antonio Tinio and Ariel Casilao, Senator Risa Hontiveros, and Senator Leila de Lima.

We are following discussions around federalism in the Philippines. Our Embassy in Manila has held discussions with the Philippine Government covering proposed timelines for implementation and format, as well as offering reflections on the UK model of devolution.

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