Philippines: Aquino Should Honor Rights Pledges ‘State of the Nation Address’ Should Outline Plan to Tackle Impunity

(Manila, July 20, 2013) – Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III should use his annual “State of the Nation Address” to outline concrete steps to provide justice for victims of human rights abuses in the country, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the president.

Aquino will deliver his State of the Nation Address in Manila on Monday, July 22, 2013. He is expected to highlight his administration’s accomplishments since his inauguration on June 30, 2010. His six-year term ends on June 30, 2016.

Human Rights Watch outlined specific measures that Aquino should address in the State of the Nation speech, including:

Ending impunity for extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances by prosecuting state security forces implicated in human rights violations.

Prosecuting officials implicated in “death squad” killings in Davao City and other cities.
Stopping abuses in mining areas.

Disbanding local militias and paramilitary forces, and rescinding Executive Order 546, which allows politicians to arm “private armies.”

“President Aquino should use this State of the Nation speech to put meat on the bones of his human rights commitments by outlining specific measures to tackle ongoing human rights problems,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “At the top of his list is holding abusive members of the security forces accountable.”

To read Human Rights Watch’s letter to President Aquino, please visit:

To read Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2013 chapter on the Philippines, “Philippines: A Year of Pluses, Minuses on Rights,” please visit:

To read the report “‘No Justice Just Adds to the Pain’: Killings, Disappearances, and Impunity in the Philippines,” please visit: