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The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in the Philippines, in particular its resolutions of 15 September 2016 (1), 16 March 2017 (2) and 19 April 2018 (3),

- having regard to the diplomatic relations established on May 12, 1964 between the Philippines and the EU (then the European Economic Community (EEC)),

- having regard to the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of the Philippines, of the other part,

- having regard to the status of the Philippines as a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),

- having regard to the joint working document of 10 February 2020 on the assessment of the situation in the Philippines in the period 2018/2019 within the framework of the EU Special Regulation for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP +) (SWD (2020) 0024),

- having regard to the statement made by the EEAS spokesman on 16 June 2020 on the conviction of Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos,

- having regard to the EU guidelines on human rights,

- having regard to the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on July 11, 2019 on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines,

- having regard to the report of 30 June 2020 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in the Philippines,

- having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (IPBPR) of 1966,

- having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,

- having regard to Law of the Republic of the Philippines No. 11479 dated July 3, 2020, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Law,

- based on Rule 144 (5) and Rule 132 (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the Philippines and the EU have long had diplomatic, economic, cultural and political ties; whereas, by ratifying the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the European Union and the Philippines show their joint commitment to good governance, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the promotion of social and economic development and peace and reaffirmed security in the region;

B. whereas the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated on 30 June 2020, on the human rights situation in the Philippines, that killings related to the government's anti-drugs campaign were "widespread and systematic" took place and that at least 8,663 people were killed, according to government reports; whereas the actual number is estimated to be up to three times that; whereas President Duterte has expressly encouraged the police to carry out extrajudicial executions and promised immunity, and those police officers who participated in these acts have been promoted; whereas President Duterte has vowed to continue his anti-drugs campaign until the end of his current term as President in 2022; whereas most of the victims come from poor and marginalized communities;

C. whereas civil society has less and less room for maneuver; whereas human rights defenders, journalists and activists are systematically threatened, harassed, intimidated and exposed to violence in seeking to expose alleged extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations in the country; whereas, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), advocating human rights is regularly equated with insurrection; whereas, according to OHCHR, at least 208 human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists, including 30 women, were killed between January 2015 and December 2019;

D. whereas Maria Ressa, a Filipino journalist and co-founder and executive director of the Rappler news website, has long been targeted for criticism of the government's “war on drugs” and for Rappler's critical coverage of extrajudicial killings ; whereas Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr., a Rappler researcher, were charged with "cyber defamation" and sentenced on June 15, 2020 by a regional court in Manila to an indefinite sentence, with the possibility of up to six years in prison ; whereas Maria Ressa and Rappler face at least six other charges;

E. whereas the Philippine Congress voted in early July 2020 to reject the renewal of the broadcasting license of ABS-CBN, the country's largest broadcaster; whereas President Duterte's refusal to renew broadcast rights is seen as retaliation for media coverage of the anti-drugs campaign and serious human rights abuses;

F. whereas Senator Leila de Lima, one of the main opponents of President Duterte's anti-drugs campaign, was relieved of her post as Chair of the Senate Judiciary and Human Rights Committee on September 19, 2016 and has since been arrested on February 24 2017 in custody; whereas there are serious concerns that the crimes of Senator De Lima are fabricated and that the allegations are politically motivated;

G. whereas, according to Global Witness, at least 43 land rights defenders were killed in 2019; whereas most of them were community leaders and active contributors to campaigns against mining projects and agribusinesses;

H. whereas the indigenous population of the Philippines makes up 10–20% of the total population; whereas in 2018 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples identified the Philippines as one of the most widely criminalized and assaulted countries in the world indigenous human rights defenders; whereas the United Nations has warned that indigenous militarization and restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression are on the rise, and that these developments are closely linked to business interests; whereas the persistent lack of security and economic development on the island of Mindanao, reported violations of international humanitarian law and the lack of progress on transitional justice and reconciliation remain of serious concern;

I. whereas Zara Alvarez, a lawyer for the Karapatan human rights group, was shot dead on August 17, 2020; whereas Alvarez had received repeated threats, was harassed for her human rights advocacy and was the 13th member of her organization to have been killed since mid-2016; whereas Randall Echanis, peacemaker, land rights defender and member of Karapatan, was tortured and killed on 10 August 2020; whereas, according to OHCHR, both Echanis and Alvarez have been repeatedly defamed as terrorists and communists, respectively, and their names were on the list of at least 600 names that the Philippine Ministry of Justice judged "terrorists" by a court in 2018 explained;

J. whereas the OHCHR and UN Special Rapporteurs have raised concerns about an apparent "pattern of intimidation" from independent news sources; whereas in 2020 the Philippines ranked 136th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' annual press freedom ranking; whereas 16 journalists have been murdered since Duterte was in power;

K. whereas the Philippines withdrew from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2018 following the ICC's “preliminary examination” of the complaint against Duterte related to the high number of killings in the anti-drug campaign had started;

L. whereas the House of Representatives of the Philippines approved a law reintroducing the death penalty in 2017; whereas this law requires prior Senate approval before President Duterte, who is actively advocating its reactivation, can enact it; whereas the reintroduction of the death penalty would constitute a clear violation of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (IPCPR), to which the Philippines is a party;

M. whereas the Philippine authorities adopted the new Anti-Terrorism Act on July 3, 2020; whereas, according to local civil society groups, the law alarmingly weakens the safeguards protecting human rights, expands the definition of terrorism and increases the length of detention without a warrant from 3 to 14 days, thereby making important distinctions between criticism, Crime and terrorism are blurred, raising legality issues and further increasing the risk of human rights violations;

N. whereas President Duterte has repeatedly spoken and behaved in a sexist and misogynistic manner; whereas, according to local non-governmental organizations, incidents of violence and sexual abuse against women, including female human rights defenders, increased during Duterte’s tenure; whereas female human rights defenders face degrading and sexually charged comments, threats of rape and assault;

O. whereas the Philippines is one of the ten most dangerous countries in the world for workers according to the 2020 report of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); whereas the Filipino trade union movement has complained about the repression of workers' rights, including terrorist / communist defamation, kidnappings and the murder of union leaders and unionists;

P. whereas the LGBTQI community is subject to constant harassment; whereas President Duterte has repeatedly alluded to the sexual orientation of political opponents in order to defame them and made public statements in May 2019 calling homosexuality a disease; whereas police cracked down on an LGBTQI Pride event in June 2020 and reportedly arrested 20 people;

Q. whereas an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 children are in prostitution rings in the Philippines; whereas an indefinite number of children are forced to work in exploitative working conditions; whereas UNICEF has expressed grave concern about the lowering of the age of criminal consent;

R. whereas in 2019 the Philippines ranked 113th out of 180 countries in Transparency International's annual corruption ranking;

S. whereas since 25 December 2014 the Philippines have enjoyed improved trade preferences under the EU's General System of Preferences (GSP +); whereas this status depends on the ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions on human rights, workers' rights, the environment and good governance; whereas in 2019 25% of all Philippine exports to the EU (almost EUR 2 billion) received preferential treatment under this scheme; whereas, despite significant setbacks in the country's human rights record, the EU has not yet triggered the mechanism that could suspend these trade benefits;

1. Expresses grave concern about the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines under President Duterte; Takes note of the publication of the June 2020 report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and calls on the Government of the Philippines to adopt and implement all recommendations contained therein;

2. Strongly condemns the thousands of extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights violations in connection with the so-called "drug war"; calls on the government of the Philippines to immediately put an end to all violence against suspected drug offenders and to disband private and state-backed paramilitary groups; Insists that the fight against illicit drugs must be conducted in full due to due process, in accordance with national and international law, with particular attention to public health;

3. Condemns all threats, harassment, intimidation, rape and violence against those seeking to expose alleged extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations in the country, including human rights and environmental activists, trade unionists and journalists; Condemns the abuse of the law and justice as a means of silencing critical voices;

4. Calls on the Filipino authorities to immediately conduct impartial, transparent, independent and meaningful investigations into all extrajudicial killings, including the deaths of Jory Porquia, Randall "Randy" Echanis and Zara Alvarez, as well as other alleged violations of the law;

5. Is concerned about the deteriorating level of press freedom in the Philippines; Condemns all threats, harassment, intimidation, unfair prosecutions and violence against journalists, including the Maria Ressa case; calls for all politically motivated charges against her and her colleagues to be dropped; recalls that freedom of the press and freedom of expression are fundamental elements of democracy; calls on the Filipino authorities to renew the broadcasting license of the main audiovisual group, ABS-CBN; calls on the EU Delegation and the EU Member State Representations in Manila to closely monitor the proceedings against Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr. and to provide all necessary assistance;

6. Reiterates its call on the Filipino authorities to drop all politically motivated charges against Senator Leila de Lima, to release her pending trial, to enable her to exercise her rights and duties as an elected representative, and to provide her with adequate security while in detention - and to grant health conditions; calls on the EU to continue to monitor its case closely;

7. Reaffirms its strong support for all human rights and environmental defenders in the Philippines and for their work; Calls on the EU Delegation and Member State Representations in the country to provide greater support to civil society in their contacts with the Philippine authorities, to use all available tools to increase their support for the work of human rights defenders and environmental activists and, if necessary, to issue Enable emergency visas and grant temporary protection in EU member states;

8. Urges the Filipino authorities to recognize that human rights defenders play a legitimate role in securing peace, justice and democracy; Calls on the Filipino authorities to under all circumstances guarantee the physical and mental integrity of all human rights defenders and journalists in the country and to ensure that they can carry out their work in a favorable environment and without fear of reprisals; Welcomes the unanimous adoption of the Law on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders by the Philippines House of Representatives and calls on the Senate and the President to implement it promptly;

9. Expresses serious concern at the recent adoption of the Anti-Terrorism Law and recalls that under no circumstances can advocacy, protest, dissent, workers' strikes and other similar forms of civil and political rights be considered acts of terrorism;

10. Urges the EU and its Member States to adopt a resolution on the current 45.Support UN Human Rights Council meeting to launch an independent international investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines since 2016;

11. Deeply deplores the decision by the Government of the Philippines to withdraw from the Rome Statute; calls on the government to overturn this decision; Encourages the ICC to continue its investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity related to the executions in the "war on drugs"; calls on the Government of the Philippines to fully assist the ICC Prosecution in its preliminary investigation into the situation in the Philippines;

12. Calls again on the Philippine authorities to immediately terminate the ongoing procedures for the reintroduction of the death penalty; Recalls that the EU considers the death penalty to be a cruel and inhumane punishment that does not prevent potential perpetrators from committing a crime;

13. Urges the Philippines to fulfill its obligations under international law and, in this sense, to protect the human rights of indigenous peoples, including in armed conflict; calls on the government to uphold the rights of these peoples, empower them to act and take effective measures to improve their living conditions;

14. Condemns all forms of violence against women and recalls that such violence is a grave violation of human rights and the dignity of women and girls; Strongly condemns President Duterte's repeated misogyny statements; calls on the President to treat women with respect and not to incite violence against women;

15. Condemns all forms of violence against LGBTQI persons and recalls that such violence constitutes a grave violation of human rights and the dignity of persons; Strongly condemns President Duterte's derogatory and sexist remarks about people who identify as members of the LGBTQI community;

16. Is concerned about the rise in corruption under the current Philippine government; calls on the Filipino authorities to do more to ensure that corruption is tackled effectively; stresses the importance of respecting the principles of democracy and the rule of law in this context;

17. Recalls that the action taken by governments in response to the pandemic should protect, not undermine, the human rights of citizens; Stresses that these measures are in accordance with international human rights obligations and national laws, are necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory and should only be maintained for as long as they are strictly necessary and not as a pretext for restricting democratic and civil space, fundamental freedoms and to respect the rule of law;

18. Is appalled at the practice of trafficking in human beings, the military recruitment of children and their use in conflict in the country, and urges the Philippine government to stop such practices; Calls on the government to step up efforts to protect all children from abuse and uphold their rights, including the right of indigenous children to education; Strongly rejects any proposal to further reduce the age of criminal responsibility;

19. Denounces the threats, intimidation and personal attacks directed against representatives of the UN Special Proceedings; Urges the Filipino authorities to cooperate with the OHCHR and all UN human rights mechanisms, including by facilitating visits to the country and avoiding intimidation and retaliation against them;

20. Calls on the European Commission, in view of the seriousness of the human rights violations in the country, to immediately initiate the procedure which could lead to the temporary withdrawal of GSP + preferences, as there are no significant improvements and the Philippine authorities are not showing any willingness to cooperate;

21.Calls on the Philippine authorities to support the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) and to ensure effective human rights due diligence procedures in investment, development and business projects, particularly in the Large agribusiness acquisitions, extractive industries, infrastructure projects and collaboration involving the security sector; Calls on companies based or operating in the EU to strictly adhere to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and to both international and national human rights norms and to carry out a thorough and comprehensive due diligence process in relation to all of their business activities and relationships within the country;

22. Calls on the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission to closely monitor the situation in the Philippines and to report regularly to the European Parliament;

23. Instructs its President to present this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Governments of the Member States, the President, Government and Congress of the Philippines, the Governments of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) , the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

(1) OJ C 204, 13.6.2018, p. 123.
(2) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 113.
(3) OJ C 390, 18.11.2019, p. 104.