MANILA -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) has assured other countries, especially the United States, that the government is in full control of its security situation, after the US State Department named the Philippines as one of the countries with high kidnapping risk.
PNP chief, General Oscar Albayalde said it is the obligation of any state to warn its citizens of all the kinds of dangers in any part of the world, especially if the security assessment is valid.
We cannot blame them. They are just doing their job of protecting their citizens. We will certainly do the same thing, said Albayalde.
Albayalde said while it is true that there are kidnapping incidents especially in Mindanao, mostly perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf Group and its affiliate local syndicates, he said "there are only certain portions or parts in Mindanao that are quite critical because of presence of some threat groups."
For his part, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. AAo said kidnapping cases in the country have been steadily in a downward trend in recent years because of the government's relentless and proactive stance in its peace and order program.
"A list is just a list. What we have are factual data pointing to the decreasing number of kidnapping cases in the Philippines. That's what we are banking on," AAo says.
"We do not know yet how they came up with the list but with the strong stance of President Rodrigo Duterte against criminality in general, we see no basis for including us in this list. We will request from the US Embassy what were the parameters used since even Malaysia and Russia were included, he said.
According to the data of the PNP, there were only 68 cases of kidnapping in the country in 2018, majority of which were in Mindanao, 11 cases lower than in 2017. As of this posting, there are only 10 cases of kidnapping for 2019.
PNP spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac said as what the figure shows, "there is a decreasing trend of kidnapping cases due the relentless anti-terrorism and anti-criminality campaign of the government."
The peace and order in the country is under our control because of the intensified security measures we are implementing, Banac said.
Mindanao, for instance, is currently under martial law while all police forces across the country are on alert for the mid-term elections next month.
The DILG chief also said the declaration of martial law in Mindanao has made it safer for visitors.
While personal precaution is necessary, martial law has allowed the Philippine government to deploy more security forces to Mindanao to ensure the safety of the people and foreign guests," he said.
He added that the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) also marks another milestone in the government's drive for lasting peace and order in Mindanao "where kidnapping cannot foster and security and development will be a priority.
The US State Department has named the Philippines among 35 countries, together with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Malaysia and Russia with high kidnapping risk advising Americans to take extra caution when travelling in these countries. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency