By Arjane Faith Paala

PHOTO: Philippine News Agency

With the alarming amount of human rights violations in the country, a lawmaker from the United States Congress pushed to limit the security assistance provided by Washington to the Philippine National Police (PNP) until certain conditions are satisfied.

Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild proposed on July 14 the amendment under the US National Defense Authorization Act of 2023 stating that funds provided to the police body will be halted if alleged human rights abuses in the Philippines remain unaddressed.

“No funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of State are authorized to be made available to provide assistance for the Philippine National Police, including assistance in the form of equipment or training,” the amendment read.

According to the amendment, the aid will be continued once the US Secretary of State and Defense have verified that the Philippine government has investigated and prosecuted cops who were involved in human rights violations, noting the need to establish a judicial system that penalizes police and military personnel who have committed such acts.

It also asserted that the PNP, moreover, should protect the rights of trade unionists, journalists, human rights defenders, government critics, religious leaders, and civil activists to operate without interference.

The police body should also ensure cooperation with national and US audits and investigations on the improper use of previously allocated security funds.

“Taxpayer dollars shouldn't be used to supply weapons, training, or any other assistance to state security forces that violently target political opponents. My amendment sends a signal that respect for human rights is a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, rather than a slogan,” Wild stressed in a tweet.

The Pennsylvania lawmaker had a similar call back in 2020, when she proposed House Resolution No. 8313 or the Philippine Human Rights Act that also aimed to halt security assistance to the country until certain reforms to the military and police force were made.

Edited by Nehmia Elyxa Relano