Presidential Communications Operation Office Secretary Martin Andanar on Sunday slammed United States Sen. Bernie Sanders for denouncing the Philippines’ alleged human rights violations.
Sanders, in a social media post on Friday, denounced the government’s rights abuses in relation to the arrest of 57 individuals including activists and trade unionists in Negros Occidental on October 31.
“In recent years, we have seen abhorrent human rights abuses by the Philippine government. This repression of trade unionists is a shameful attempt to silence people’s rights and freedoms. More than ever, we must stand on the side of global human rights,” Sanders said in a Twitter post with a link to the International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) article “Philippines: Government Crackdown Targets Unions.”
Andanar said Sanders and the ITUC made “blanket statements” and refused to “closely look at the facts at hand.”
“Senator Sanders is grandstanding on an issue he obviously does not know the details of, not to mention meddling in our national affairs, which he has no business over,” he said in a statement.
Andanar debunked claims of “government abuse,” insisting that the operations against “suspected communist terrorists” were conducted in a peaceful manner. He added that several arrested civilians were released days after the incident.
“Stringent measures were undertaken during operations as they are a matter of serious national security. These are steps we have to take in order to erode any probabilities of communist armed conflicts and in the long run attain peace and prosperity among Filipinos,” he added.
“The Philippine government respects and is all for global human rights. It’s just that there are false narratives spread by those who want to bring the government down,” Andanar said.
“We urge all observers and critics to check their facts as some may fall victim to the lies peddled by communist terrorists–terrorists that have humanitarian organizations fronts who seek funding from other legitimate international institutions, only to be used for violence,” he added. DIVINA NOVA JOY DELA CRUZ