- Several journalists from Asian countries expressed their concern over the spate of killings in the Philippines during a gathering in Manila
- PCOO secretary Andanar defended Duterte’s approach to fighting crime, saying that the Filipino people voted for Duterte even though he promised a bloody war against drugs during the election
- Andanar also cited some statistics to prove the effectiveness of Duterte’s approach to fighting drugs
During a gathering of Southeast Asian journalists held in Manila, many of them expressed their concerns over the spate of summary killings of suspected drug criminals in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.
“If you’re a human right defender, you’re worried. You’re worried because this might become infectious,” Indonesia’s Tempo magazine CEO Bambang Harymurti said.
The Indonesian journalist added that the Philippine government does not have to apply excessive force in order to implement peace and order in the country, citing his country as an example.
“Because we have proven that in the case of Indonesian terrorists, I think more than 700 already arrested, put into the process and so on. So you don’t have to go into extraordinary measures,” the magazine CEO explained.
A Japanese journalist also expressed his concern during the media forum with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, asking the official about the necessity of Duterte’s aggressive approach to fighting the illegal drug trade in the country.
According to Andanar, Duterte promised during his election campaign that he would violently fight crime if he would be elected as President of the country and that he is just fulfilling his promise. Duterte won a landslide victory at the May 9 polls.
“He already warned the electorate, ‘If you vote for me, there will be bloodshed. So don’t vote for me if you don’t want bloodshed.’ But he was voted,” Andanar pointed out.
The PCOO secretary also spoke about the more than 700,000 drug users and pushers who have voluntarily surrendered to the authorities, calling it a great achievement for the Duterte administration.
According to Andanar, the President had chosen to protect the rights of millions of innocent Filipinos instead of focusing his efforts on protecting the fewer number of drug criminals in the country.
More than 1,000 alleged drug criminals have been killed in summary executions and over 700 were killed in legitimate police operations. According to PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the drug lords are the ones responsible for the summary killings and not the policemen. – Kami Media