De Lima to continue human rights, social justice advocacy in 18th Congress

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima will carry on her human rights and social justice advocacy into the 18th Congress as she is set to refile some of her priority legislations, including measures on Human Rights Defenders and Prison Reform Bill today (July 1).

"Despite the challenges and roadblocks, we will continue our mission of beefing up human rights and social justice in the country in the 18th Congress," said De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.

"Passing these measures is crucial, amid the prevailing culture of impunity and human rights abuses under the Duterte regime. The Filipino people need utmost and ample protection from the excesses of this government," added De Lima, former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Aside from the Human Rights Defenders and Prison Reform Bill, De Lima is also set to refile the Criminal Investigation Bill, Unified Corrections and Jail Management Bill, CHR Charter, Magna Carta for Day Care Workers, Reclusion Perpetua Bill, and National Commission for Disability Affairs Bill.

Many of these measures were referred to the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, chaired by Sen. Richard J. Gordon, but they gathered dust in the 17th Congress.

The lady Senator from Bicol is also expected to file two new measures the Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers and the Comprehensive Law on the Statement on Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

The Human Rights Defender Bill seeks to institutionalize and enforce State obligations for the protection of the rights of human rights defenders while De Lima's Criminal Investigation Bill seeks to streamline and strengthen the process of criminal investigation.

De Lima's Prison Reform Bill seeks to institutionalize prison reform and restorative justice in the country's correctional system to ensure that rights of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) are protected.

In the previous 17th Congress, De Lima also filed the Unified Corrections and Jail Management Bill to place the management of all the country's jails and prisons under one authority and pushed for the passage of the CHR Charter which will give more teeth to the constitutional body in looking into human rights violations.

De Lima also submitted a measure seeking to provide security of tenure and social protection to around 50,000 child development workers in the country through the Magna Carta for Day Care Workers, a bill countering Duterte-backed death penalty bills through Qualified Reclusion Perpetua.

Notably, the lady Senator from Bicol also filed a bill, also known as "National Commission on Disability Affairs Act" seeking to address the gaps in the promotion and protection of rights and welfare of persons with disabilities in the previous 17th Congress.

De Lima intends to refile the above measures this 18th Congress. She is readying a package of human rights and social justice measures in the coming days, along with bills on electoral reforms.

Even in detention, De Lima managed to spearhead several social justices measures, with two priority measures the Magna Carta of the Poor and the institutionalization of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) having been recently enacted into laws.

Source: Senate of the Philippines