UPR Media Briefing Note


Tuesday, 29 May 2012 (Morning)
For use of information media; not an official record

State under review

Represented by 29-member delegation headed by Ms. Leila M. DE LIMA, Secretary Minister, Department of Justice of the Philippines.


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Philippines page on UPR website.

Troika *

Hungary, Qatar, Uganda.

Opening statement by State under review

Key points from opening statement of State under review:

  • Noted that when President Aquino assumed office in June 2010, he enunciated his Social Contract with the Filipino People, a 16-point agenda built on a strong foundation of respect for human rights;
  • In terms of economic, social and cultural rights, the Government has quadrupled its budget for its “Pantawid Pamilya Program,” a conditional cash transfer program which is an investment in human capital for poor households to keep their children in school and keep them  healthy;
  • To provide assistance to families displaced by increasing natural disasters, the Government has built 16,000 core shelters since 2008; the Government also prioritized the completion of agrarian reform as its premier anti-poverty and social justice program;
  • In the past four years, the Philippines ratified the CPRD and the OPCAT, and was now State Party to eight core international human rights treaties. The Government also ratified the Rome ICC Statute;
  • The Government also enacted the Magna Carta of Women in 2009, a law which strengthens the Philippines’ legal and institutional framework in accordance with the CEDAW, and adopted an Anti-Torture Act compliant with its obligations under the CAT;
  • The State also amended its Migrant Workers’ Act to enhance protection of overseas Filipino migrant workers, and further strengthen adherence to the Convention on the rights of migrant workers;
  • The Government has established over 27,000 violence against women desks in villages throughout the country and the Supreme Court has trained over 2,000 judges and court personnel on CEDAW, gender sensitivity training and setting up committees on decorum and investigation to handle sexual harassment cases;
  • On reported incidents of extrajudicial killings and torture, the Government’s Task Force Usig, a special unit under the Philippine National Police, has independently verified that incidents have clearly declined; the Philippines has also partnered with the international community in capacity-building and forensic training for prosecutors in evidence-gathering and case build up, which can help increase convictions in cases of extrajudicial killings;
  • With regard to Government actions to combat trafficking in persons, there have been a total of 72 convictions with 87 persons convicted since the Anti-Trafficking Law was enacted in 2003; the Government also extended an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons to visit the country this year.
(See full statement on the Philippines page on UPR Extranet)


In total, 67 States participated in the discussion:  31 HRC members and 49 observers  (Statements available on Philippines page on UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Accession to key human rights instruments and treaties, including the Rome ICC Statute and the OPCAT;
  • The creation of a special task force to address extra judicial killings;
  • Steps to combat poverty and to improve living conditions, including the establishment of the Pantawid Pamilyang Philipino Programme;
  • Efforts to advance gender equality and the protection of women and the Magna Carta for Women;
  • The National Strategic Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons;
  • The opening of an office of the National Commission on Human Rights in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Issues and Questions

Main issues and questions raised by the Working Group:

  • Steps to prohibit and address acts of extra judicial killings and bring those responsible to justice;
  • The existence of paramilitary forces and steps to address alleged human rights violations committed by them;
  • Measures to address cases of human trafficking and sexual exploitation;
  • Efforts to advance the rights of domestic workers and migrants.


In total, States participating in the discussion posed a series of recommendations to Philippines. These included, among others: 

  • To step up efforts to fully prohibit and address cases of torture, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and ensure there were mechanisms in place to address such cases;
  • To enhance human rights-based training for all law enforcement personnel on the absolute prohibition of torture and ill treatment;
  • To ratify the Convention on forced disappearances, withdraw all reservations to the CAT and ensure national legislation was in line with the Rome ICC Statute, to ensure related cases were well recorded;
  • To ensure that victims of torture and ill treatment had effective access to a medical evaluation; to improve the condition of prisons and detention centres;
  • To end impunity for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture and bring those responsible to justice, including Major General Jovito Palparan Jr, former Governor Joel Reyes and the perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre;
  • To ensure adequate protection of human rights defenders and journalists and effectively investigate and prosecute attacks against journalists and to introduce into domestic law strong legislation prohibiting these acts and imposing criminal penalties;
  • To invite the UN Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders to visit the country;
  • To dismantle and disarm all paramilitary forces and militias, or alternatively ensure that the army exercises full control of these elements; to revoke Executive Order 546 on the use of child soldiers;
  • To step up efforts to combat human trafficking and to strengthen relations with countries of transit and origin for victims of human trafficking and to establish programmes for the rehabilitation and social integration for women victims of sexual exploitation; 
  • To amend the abortion law to allow safe abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the health and life of the pregnant woman was at risk; to enact legislation to address the status of children born out of wedlock;
  • To step up efforts to combat child labour and to fully prohibit corporal punishment; to increase measures on the rights to education to ensure equal access to education for all children, to special attention for children with disabilities and street children;
  • To step up efforts to meet the basic needs of the society’s exposed groups; To redouble efforts in the area of wealth distribution and poverty eradication;
  • To ratify ILO Convention 189 pertaining to domestic workers and 169 concerning indigenous people;
  • To implement the Act on the Rights of Indigenous People to guarantee that economic activities did not have a negative effect on the rights of indigenous people; to intensify efforts for the sustainable use of natural resources;
  • To consider establishing legislation to combat discrimination against LGBT persons;
  • To consider issuing a standing invitation to Special Procedures.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on the Philippines is scheduled to take place on Friday, 1 June 2012.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.