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2015-Oct-05 By Clarisse Aquino

Former Senator Nene Pimentel urged the officers and personnel of the Commission on Human Rights to maintain focus in their obligations in their pursuit of defending human rights in the country.

Pimentel issued the call as he laid his suggested seven-year agenda for the constitutional body in the Commission’s strategic planning workshop last October 2 at the Kimberly Hotel Tagaytay.

Pimentel urged the Commission to focus in helping the Muslims in Mindanao achieve their goal of genuine autonomy.

The intervention of the CHR can be justified in specific powers granted the Commission enumerated in our laws.

He explained that the CHR has the power to investigate complaints and all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights.

He added that the CHR has powers to provide legal measures for (i) the protection of human rights of all persons in the country, as well as Filipinos abroad; and (ii) legal aid services for the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection. and

The CHR is tasked to monitor government compliance with international treaties on human rights.

Pimentel emphasized that local legislation exists which may be used to support our quest for justice for the Moro peoples.

He cited  Republic Act No. 9054 (2001) expanding the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Republic Act 7160 (1991), or the Local Government Code.

Pimentel added there are also relevant International Agreements that may be used to buttress the assertion of the rights of indigenous peoples, including the Moro peoples of our country.

He mentioned the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), or even, the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.

To facilitate its intervention on these issues, Pimentel stressed  it is important that the CHR coordinate matters with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police., and with any other agency of the government that is tasked with addressing issues connected with the just aspirations of the Moro peoples.


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