Philippines defends drug war, rights record before UN

According to a report submitted by a Philippine panel to a UN rights body in Geneva, there is no state policy to kill drug offenders and other lawbreakers as part of the Duterte administration’s war against drugs and criminality. The submission of this report was still in connection to the third cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the status of human rights in the Philippines. The reporting was led by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

 

Even if Philippines was defending its case, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein was urging US President Donald Trump to express to President Duterte a “deep sense of alarm” over the human rights issue in the Philippines.

 

According to the report, Philippines “is focused on an aggressive and relentless fight against criminality and illegal drugs, requiring that all police and military operations be conducted within the bounds of law, and recognizing and respecting the rights and dignity of the accused.” .

 

In the report, it is also stated that on the declaration of Gwen Pimentel-Gana (Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Commissioner and heads the task force on extrajudicial killings (EJK)) last March 27 that “in the absence of government policy, the alleged EJKs cannot be considered state-sponsored.”

 

In the report, there are surveys cited that shows the overwhelming support of the people to the Duterte administration’s war against drugs and criminality.

 

Latest statistics from Pulse Asia show that 82 percent of Metro Manila residents feel safer because of government’s campaign against illegal drugs,” the report read.

 

The report added that the EJKs reported are deaths under investigation are classified as homicide or murder under Philippine law and policy and as of March, some 1,427 or 23.7 percent of the reported deaths had been resolved and 76.3 percent being investigated.

 

In keeping with the state’s duty to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, the people’s campaign against illegal drugs is pursued to preserve the lives of the Filipino people and protect the country from turning into a narco-state,” the report said.

 

There are also data from Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency presented in the report that 95.47 percent of drug offenders arrested were users of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has found to be associated with cognitive impairment, aggression and violence, and social and family disruption.

 

“In protecting the right to life, health and personal security of our people, it has embarked on a rights-based campaign to eliminate the drug menace,” the government said.

 

The approach used was not only to eradicate criminality in the country but also for the rehabilitation of the drug users. Also, there is great emphasis on PNP strongly condemns vigilantism in any form and does not tolerate extrajudicial methods in its anti-crime operations.