The Philippines one step closer to ratifying the OPCAT
The Philippines is one step closer to ratifying the OPCAT. On 16 February 2011, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations of the Philippines held a public hearing on the instrument. It reportedly received wide support, with no objections to ratification from the government and civil society institutions represented. The APT and RCT submitted a joint position paper to the public hearing, highlighting why the Philippines should ratify the OPCAT as a priority.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will now need to approve ratification for the OPCAT to be tabled in the Senate: the final hurdle for ratification. The Senate Committee already approved OPCAT ratification once, in December 2009. However, that session of congress adjourned without OPCAT ratification being passed. And as there were subsequently elections in the Philippines, the process needed to start all over again. With concerted efforts from all sides, in particular from Filipino NGOs and the Commission on Human Rights, it is hoped that this time efforts will be successful, and the Philippines will soon become the next Asian state party to the OPCAT.