PCOO exec seeks UN cooperation in crackdown vs. illegal drugs

MANILA -The Philippine government is seeking cooperation from the United Nations (UN) in its crackdown on illegal drugs, noting that over a million Filipino drug users have surrendered for rehabilitation since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte's term in 2016.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael made this call during the Briefing for Diplomatic Missions on Human Rights Accountability Mechanisms in the Philippines at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on June 28, 2019.

Rafael stressed that the campaign against illegal drugs in the Philippines has been politicized by Duterte's critics and detractors.

[T]he campaign against illegal drugs has been full of challenges. Unfortunately, the efforts have been so politicized that even our achievements have been used against us, Rafael said.

Rafael explained that the Duterte administration had always been supportive of approaches that enhance constructive cooperation to address the country's drug problem despite politicized actions which she described as counter-productive and have unclear outcomes.

We now seek that same cooperation from this body, as we trust that empathy is much needed as we move forward and build a better future for our Filipino children, Rafael said.

During the briefing, Rafael bared that there have been 1.3 million self-confessed Filipino drug users who surrendered to the government and willing to undergo rehabilitation and reintegration programs since July 1, 2016.

It must be underscored that the Philippines has working mechanisms and domestic processes including in the law enforcement sectors and inter-agency mechanism, Rafael said in her speech.

Our data here shows significant progress in so far as our rehabilitation efforts, she added.

Rafael said the Duterte administration has also conducted 132,152 legitimate anti-illegal drugs operations, which have yielded 190,002 arrests, and 5,489 deaths -including high-value targets, and even government workers.

Government, non-government organizations and religious groups have also joined forces to help surrenderers recover and learn skills to prepare them for their return as productive members of the community, according to the PCOO official.

A total of USD667 million of methamphetamine and USD498.96 million worth of controlled precursors and essential chemicals and laboratory equipment have also been seized by law enforcement agencies, she added.

Misinformed on killings

Rafael, meanwhile, clarified reports that killings under the Duterte administration have reached 27,000, saying they were actually general homicide cases which are not directly related to the deaths during anti-illegal drug operations.

I would like to emphasize in the clearest possible terms the alleged 27,000 killings that have received a lot of international misunderstandings and misinformation, Rafael said.

These homicide cases may have resulted out of road rage, land dispute, personal grudge, business rivalry, love triangle, family dispute or politics, she added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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