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UN Special Rapporteur tour well-assisted, runs smoothly —Presidential Task Force

February 01, 2024

A government official said the 10-day tour of United Nations Special Rapporteur Irene Khan to check on the current state of human rights on the aspect of freedom of expression and opinion in the country has been running smoothly and well-assisted by the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“Pagpapakita lamang ito na bukas tayo sa ano mang pagbisita at pagtatanong sa atin ng international community,” Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Undersecretary Paul Guttierez said during a virtual press conference last Wednesday (Jan. 31, 2024) by the Integrated Communications Operations Center, the media bureau of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Barely two years into his administration, Guttierez said Marcos had already welcomed at least three UN rapporteurs into the country. Only one rapporteur visited the country during the time of former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and at least two during the administration of the late president Benigno Aquino III.

“On how I would assess itong ongoing visit ni Ms. Irene Khan, we are always taking extra mile. Ang task force natin dahil tayo po ang lead agency sa coordination at preparation na makausap niya lahat ng gusto nyang kausapin,” Gutierrez said.

The visit of Khan is a testament to the commitment and proactive stance of the Philippine government in promoting, protecting and defending fundamental rights of the Filipino people.

“Tinitiyak natin na makarating siya sa kanyang mga meeting nang maayos at kahit papaano ay komportable. Now, meron pa siyang naka schedule na meeting today (Jan. 31) hanggang bukas (Feb. 1)”, he said.

Asked how he further assesses Khan’s visit, Gutierrez surmised there are indications that Khan is satisfied with the preparations made by the PTFoMS and the government.

Earlier, NTF-ELCAC Executive Director USec. Ernesto Torres Jr. said that they are hopeful that Khan’s visit would yield positive results that would strengthen collaboration between the Philippine government and the UN body she represents.

“We had a very constructive dialogue with her which has shed light on the NTF-ELCAC’s commitment to freedom of expression and the press. We agree with her completely that freedom of expression and the press is a pillar of our democratic society,” said Torres.

“On February 2, magkakaroon po tayo ng exit conference. Lahat po ng ahensya na kinausap niya rito ay naroon sa exit conference. This will be held by the Department of Foreign Affairs at pagkatapos po niyan ay pupunta siya sa UN Mission dito sa Pilipinas,” Gutierrez said.

The exit conference will serve as a culmination of Khan’s engagements with various government agencies. Each agency will convene to reflect on the discussions, share insights, and potentially address any concerns.

This would be followed by a separate press conference by representatives of relevant government agencies.

Gutierrez explained that this initiative aims to keep the public well-informed of the topics addressed, fostering a sense of openness, transparency and accountability. ###


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco



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