Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a new initiative that will help to greatly expand the human right to health and medical wellness among expecting mothers as well as young children during their first 1,000 days of life (almost three years in total). According to PTV News:
“Under the First 1,000 Days Law, the government is mandated to prioritise the nutrition of pre-pregnant, pregnant and lactating women, infants and young children.
It will also provide comprehensive strategy to address health and nutrition of children and institutionalise and scale up investment plans for health and nutrition in the regional and local development units”.
Coming not long after Duterte signed the first ever universal healthcare law in The Philippines, the new government programme helps to solidify Duterte’s record as a pioneer of genuine human rights among a Philippine public who for decades have suffered under a false consciousness regarding an apprehension of a legitimate definition of human rights.
In a society that values genuine human rights, it becomes necessary to examine what such rights entail. Among these rights are the right to live in a healthy environment free of crime, drugs and degeneracy. Furthermore, the right to an education, the right to attain employment, the right to a decent wage and the right to personal fulfilment and enlightenment are all genuine goals that those supporting a true definition of human rights seek to attain.
President Duterte’s support of the healthcare, welfare, education and safety of the Filipino people have been important milestones in the history of improving human rights not just in The Philippines but in Asia as a whole. Why then do some of Duterte’s more unhinged opponents accuse him of being a “human rights violator”?
The answer to this question arises from understanding that many of his opponents have a false definition of what human rights means and are therefore operating under a mentality that can only be described as false consciousness. The “right” of narcos to run rampant like beasts among decent normal people is not a human right. The “right” of those on Shabu to murder, rape, pillage and torture civilians while the police look the other way because of a bribe is not a human right. Nor is it a human right to prostitute one’s nation to foreign regimes as many of Duterte’s predecessors had done. Finally, it is not a human right to prioritise the political power of corrupt bishops from one particular religion over defending the right of the people to worship in the manner of their choosing or indeed to chose not to have any religion at all.
In all of these areas, Duterte has been on the correct side of a genuine definition of human rights while his most vocal detractors threaten peace, stability and genuine human freedom in The Philippines. Duterte realises that there can be no human rights in a country where the powers that be do not defend human life. This is why in his most recent State of The Nation Address, Duterte stared down his opponents and said:
“Your concern is human rights – mine is human lives”.
Yet in reality, by cherishing human life, Duterte has greatly expanded real human rights for Filipinos not just in The Philippines but for OFWs (overseas Filipino workers). Duterte’s intervention recently saved the life of an innocent OFW called Jennifer Dalquez who was about to be executed by the authorities in the United Arab Emirates after she killed her employer in self-defence as he tried to violently rape her. Beyond this, Duterte has consistently used his political power to stand up for the human and civil rights of other OFWs throughout the world.
December the 10th is World Human Rights Day and as such, it is high time for Duterte’s supporters and admirers to reclaim the term ‘human rights’ from his opponents who neither know the true meaning of the term, nor do they understand the difficult processes required to achieve human rights for a large population.
Duterte’s First 1,000 Days of Life law is yet another example of how Duterte is putting the health and welfare of Filipinos first in an age where other politicians put their own greed above literally everything.