March 5, 2017
The Duterte administration has urged the international community, including the United States, to support the Philippines on its war against illegal drugs.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella issued the statement after the US Department of State came out with the Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, citing a "sharp increase" on the alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines over the past year.
"The PHL Government is firmly committed to upholding human rights. Vigilante or extrajudicial killings are unlawful and are therefore not sanctioned. The government condemns such practice," said Abella in a statement.
"These are not to be confused with the Government’s war on illegal drugs, which is an urgent and critical domestic matter," he added.
Abella vowed the government will not shirk from its duty to protect the Filipino people and ensure that they have a secure, peaceful and bountiful future.
"We hope the international community will support us in this effort," he said.
The US report noted that since July up to December 2016, the Philippine National Police and unknown vigilantes have killed more than 6,000 suspected drug dealers and users as the government pursued a policy aimed of eliminating illegal drug activity in the country.
Specifically, it said the PNP reported 2,155 suspects killed during police anti-drug operations between July 1 and December 26 and approximately 4,000 more allegedly drug-related killings by unknown persons during that period.
"Concerns about police impunity increased significantly as few administrative or criminal charges were filed against PNP officers following the sharp increase in police killings. President Duterte publicly rejected criticism of the killings and claimed authorities would investigate any actions taken outside the rule of law. Significant concerns about impunity of civilian national and local government officials and powerful business and commercial figures persisted," Washington said in the report.
But Abella said Duterte has ordered the appropriate law enforcement institutions to take decisive legal steps to ensure accountability.
"We will arrest, investigate, prosecute and punish the scalawags in uniform, while also pursuing reform in these institutions so that they can more effectively conduct this noble crusade," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS
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