(New York) – Candidates in the May 2016 Philippine presidential election will have an opportunity to explain to voters their positions on major human rights issues, Human Rights Watch said today.

Voters fill out official ballots during the May 2010 presidential elections in the Philippines.

© 2010 Reuters

Human Rights Watch sent a 10-question human rights survey to the five presidential candidates on March 21. Responses will be posted on the website in late April.

“The Philippines’ next president will inherit immense human rights problems requiring leadership and commitment,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Filipino voters should demand to hear from their presidential candidates exactly what they would do to protect and strengthen human rights.”

The election is slated for May 9. The Philippine constitution allows a president a single six-year term. President Benigno Aquino III, in office since 2010, is barred from running for re-election. The five candidates seeking to succeed Aquino have formed election tickets, each with a vice presidential candidate.

The Human Rights Watch questionnaire seeks responses on “death squad” killings; torture; attacks against journalists; accountability of state security forces; rights of indigenous peoples; reproductive health rights; displacement caused by conflict; and the country’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, among other subjects.

“The upcoming presidential election is crucial if the Philippines is to end pervasive abuses and impunity and become a genuinely rights-respecting country,” Adams said. “When Filipinos go to the polls on May 9, they will want to know where the candidates stand on these critical concerns.”