Philippine police asked to respect human rights
Akbayan - Citizens Action Party | 12.13.2011
Akbayan Party to PNP: Respect People's Right to Protest, Observe Maximum Tolerance
We in Akbayan Party call on the Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Nicanor Bartolome and National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Alan Purisima to ensure that maximum tolerance will be observed by the police when handling public demonstrations and other protests.
Our country has already made notable headway in the field of human rights, which is why it is disconcerting whenever we see protest actions and demonstrations spiral out of control and degenerate into senseless violence. Such violence need not occur if our police officers ensure constant dialogue and maximum tolerance.
We believe the people must be given the widest latitude to exercise their rights to assemble and to express themselves. Any attempt to prevent them from doing so under the guise of safety and national security cannot stand. The cherished rights of freedom of expression and the right to peaceably assemble are enshrined in our constitution and can only be given meaning if the people are given the opportunity to use them without any threats to their persons. Though it is a valid duty of our police officers to ensure the safety of our citizens, such a duty must be made in harmony with the exercise of the people of their rights.
We hope that the PNP will heed the call of the people for maximum tolerance especially as we celebrate International Human Rights Day this 10th of December. After all, it is not simply the people who celebrate this important day as a reminder of their rights. It is also a day that must serve as a reminder to the government, specifically its security personnel, that the weight of ensuring the people’s right to protest or air their legitimate grievances should not result in physical harm or violence to anyone. ###