PCOO brings ‘Gramo’ to international stage

The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) engaged the international community to amplify the achievements of the Duterte administration, particularly in the protection and promotion of human rights through its anti-illegal drugs campaign.

The Philippine delegation, led by PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, met with the Filipino community, Philippine Embassy staff, and the local media in Paris, France on Tuesday to present the gains made by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte in its campaign against illegal drugs and to combat the inaccurate narratives by critics and oppositionists.

Andanar kicked off the event with a ceremonial turnover of the anti-illegal drugs campaign documentary film entitled Gramo to the Philippine Embassy in Paris, followed by a film-showing session.

We at the PCOO are at the forefront of bringing accurate facts and narratives, and laying to rest speculation, hearsay, and unverified figures, Andanar said.

Andanar said Gramo highlights the tremendous successes of the government's initiative as well as the challenges faced by the campaign, from the real stories of victims on the ground, the transformation of former drug users, the law enforcement operations, to the crackdown on rogue cops.

He also highlighted an October Social Weather Stations survey which showed that fewer families or about 5.6 percent feel victimized by common crimes in the third quarter of 2019, from 7 percent in the previous quarter. The Department of the Interior and Local Government, meanwhile, reported an 11 percent drop in crime volume in July 2019 compared to the previous year.

The PCOO chief also noted that 8 out of 10 Filipinos are satisfied with the government's anti-illegal drug campaign and that 73 percent of Filipinos believe the number of drug users has dropped since Duterte took office in July 2016.

The government, he said, was able to seize PHP41.55-billion worth of illegal drugs; rescue 2,833 children from illegal drug-related activities; arrest 735 government workers engaging in illegal drug activities; dismantle 506 drug dens and laboratories; and clear 17,816 barangays from drugs.

The government will continue to implement strong enforcement of the law, with consistent adherence and observance of human rights and dignity through rescue, rehabilitation, reformation, and ridding drug war operations of corruption, he added.

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary JV Arcena said: We saw a very realistic presentation of 'Gramo'. It was in-depth, and fair. It showed the comparative analysis, the historical context of our illegal drug problem, and the successes and gains of the Duterte administration in terms of fighting illegal drugs.

Philippine Ambassador to France Maria Theresa Lazaro lauded the efforts of the PCOO in engaging the Filipino community and the international media in Paris.

It has such a powerful impact on certain individuals who doesn't really know what's happening, especially our countrymen who have been here for a long time. It was very welcomed, especially the historical aspect of it was very good. I congratulate the PCOO, I congratulate Secretary Andanaryou did a very good job, Lazaro said.

Filipino community leader Benjamin Repol said the documentary is very important for Filipinos abroad particularly in Paris as it will help disseminate the information on the drug menace in the Philippines.

I'm very thankful to the President that he has done something to reduce criminality, to reduce drugs, and of course to bring back the nation back to its core, Repol said.

Aside from "Gramo, the PCOO also presented to the international community a journal containing facts about the anti-illegal drug campaign, entitled: Saving The Future of a Nation: Countering Hard Drugs; the Duterte Legacy Magazine that features the beneficiaries of the government's education-related programs and policy; the Duterte Legacy Accomplishment Journal; the Presidential Task Force on Media Security report on the state of media freedom, and the protection of journalists in the country; and the special edition of Balita Central about the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Source: Philippines News agency

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