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    Posted March 4, 2014 by

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    Phl senator files bill on human rights

    PHILIPPINE Senator Teofisto Guingona III on Tuesday filed Senate Resolution 531 asking the Senate to concur the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which aims to promote, protect and fulfill all human rights of Filipinos, including the other nationals living within the country.
    The senator explained that the Optional Protocol can help create an enabling law, as well as fortify the existing laws that address various economic, social, and cultural rights.
    "The Optional Protocol can guide the government in realigning the national budget to progressively realize the rights to education, health, employment, food security, balanced ecology, etc., in dire need of investment to spur sustainable economic and human development progress, that shall, consequently, uphold and protect the value of each person's life and dignity -not only for those living today, but also for the generations to come," Guingona said.
    The Philippine government is one of the 184 member States of the United Nations that ratified the ICESCR on June 7, 1974.
    The ICESCR not only identifies a range of economic, social, and cultural rights, but it also requires all peoples to enjoy these rights without discrimination, such as the right to work and to have just favorable conditions of work, social security, protection of the family, adequate standards of living, education, benefits to scientific progress and culture.
    "The Optional Protocol makes a strong and unequivocal statement about the equal value and importance of all human rights and the need to strengthen the legal protection of economic, social, and cultural rights," he added.
    The UN Human Development Report 2013 ranked the Philippines 144 out of 186 countries in the Human Development Index, and emphasized the need for "pro-poor policies and significant investments in people's capabilities -through a focus on education, nutrition and health, and employment skills" so as to "expand access to decent work and provide for sustained progress."
    "The Optional Protocol will ultimately support President Benigno Aquino III's ‘Straight Path’ policy as the more effective alignment of the national budget shall make every Filipino's welfare a top priority and eliminate channels that lead to corruption and improper use of the people's money, as in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam," Guingona said.
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