PH team tells EU: Deaths in war vs drugs going down
MANILA — The Philippine government has “committed” to the European Union that it would strive to have fewer deaths in police anti-drug operations, a ranking Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) official said this morning.
Assistant Interior Secretary Epimaco Densing said that a Philippine delegation, led by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Isidro Lapeña, went to Brussels and met with EU officials after the EU threatened the Philippines with trade sanctions for its bloody war against drugs.
Densing, a member of the delegation, said they pointed out to EU officials that the number of deaths had gone down after the war against drugs resumed in March.
He said that, while there was one death reported for every 20 police anti-drug operations during the last six months of the Aquino administration and the first three months of the Duterte government, the last two months saw this figure go down to one death for every 50 police operations.
“There’s an improvement. We committed that to the European Commission that we will continue to improve the number,” Densing said in a press conference.
The European Commission is the institution that handles the EU’s day-to-day business.
“We cannot avoid deaths (in police operations but) we don’t want anyone to die. We were very clear on that. Who wants killings?” Densing said.
He said the meeting with EU officials was “very important” because the EU had threatened to impose trade sanctions on the Philippines.
“The meeting with European Commission is very important because of some misinformation that the European Union heard from second highest official of our government, that there were alleged massive extra-judicial killings,” Densing said.
“They’ve threatened us (that) they will abrogate the 27 trade agreements we have with them,” he said.
“They also threatened us that they will stop the duty-free importation of Philippine products in Europe which will be very detrimental to our exporters. With that clarification, we are confident they will have to review their statements,” he added. SFM
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