Losing trade perks with EU due to rights record? Palace says view gov’t actions through Filipinos’ eyes
MANILA, Philippines — The Palace urged the international community on Monday to view the government’s actions through the public’s lens after lawmakers of a foreign body warned of losing trade perks due to the country’s human rights situation.
The European Parliament last Thursday issued a resolution stressing the human rights situation in the Philippines and warning against the withdrawal of trade privileges with the European Union (EU).
“President [Rodrigo Duterte] is at the tail-end of his administration and –– despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic –– is poised to step down with the highest satisfaction, approval and trust ratings of any post-Edsa Chief Executive,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a statement.
“We urge those in the international community to view the government’s actions through the eyes of our people in order to have a better appreciation of the steps the Duterte Administration has taken to ensure the safety, security and prosperity of the country’s over 100 million citizens,” he continued.
The EU’s legislative body compelled the country’s authorities “to step up their efforts to ensure fair and free elections and a nontoxic environment” for campaigning in the May 9 polls.
“We wish to reiterate that the government has already taken steps to address the concerns raised by the European Union Parliament–– issues that we believe are being used by the detractors of the Duterte Administration to color the perceptions of Filipino voters who in May will choose the country’s next leaders,” said Nograles.
“It bears stressing that an existing dialogue mechanism with the EU is already in place, and we have expressed in numerous occasions our willingness to work and cooperate with the EU in order to shed light on the concerns they have raised. The actions taken by the government in this regard are a clear demonstration of our compliance with conventions on human rights, labor, and good governance, among others,” the Palace official added.
The Parliament pushed the European Commission “to set clear, public, time-bound benchmarks for the Philippines to comply with its human rights obligations” under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus, which allows the country a duty-free exportation of products to the 27 member states.
A total of 627 out of 684 members favored the resolution on the recent human rights development in the country.
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