IBON Foundation submitted last week to the United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights its report on the state of key economic, social and cultural rights in the Philippines. This is for the 41st Session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the United Nations Human Rights Council on November 2022.
The UN’s UPR is among the mechanisms of the international community and governments to measure the progress of human rights in the Philippines. This is alongside other measures such as UN Human Rights Council reports and resolutions, the work of UN Special Rapporteurs, and periodic treaty reporting.
The Philippines, like every other country, goes through a review every 4 1/2 years based on information submitted by civil society, the Commission on Human Rights, the government and the UN. Governments also give recommendations to each other.
Towards prodding the government to take concrete steps to improve the domestic human rights situation, IBON Foundation has submitted reports to previous UPR reviews of the Philippines in 2007, 2011 and 2016. The Philippines is scheduled to present its fourth report between November 7-18, 2022.
IBON’s March 2022 submission gives the UN information on the Duterte administration’s destructive lockdown-heavy COVID-19 response and how this gravely exacerbated pre-pandemic trends of increasing joblessness, falling real wages, worsening informality of work, and agricultural and economic decline.
The report also underscored gross fiscal mispriorities of underspending on emergency economic relief to families and small businesses amid overspending on infrastructure, debt service and the military. IBON also pointed out worsening inequality because of the administration’s regressive TRAIN and CREATE tax reforms which increased consumption taxes on the poor and middle class while reducing income taxes on wealthy families and large corporations.
IBON pointed out that the poorest 70-80% of Filipinos are denied their right to development while government economic policies continue to bolster the wealth of super-rich oligarchs and the profits of large corporations.
Download a copy of the report here.