Palace prefers to see ‘silver lining’ in US gov’t report on EJK
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the United States (U.S.) government identifying extrajudicial killing (EJK) as the Philippines’ chief human rights concern, the Palace said it prefers to focus on the positive aspects of the report.
In a statement on Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the US State Department’s 2018 report on human rights “reflects the US government’s appreciation of the Duterte administration’s governance agenda anchored on fighting corruption, criminality and illegal drugs.”
“While the political opposition and detractors of the President, including some of those in the mainstream media, would dwell on what they consider as negative observations and milk the same for their political purposes, we prefer to see the glass half full and focus on the positive aspects of the report,” Panelo said.
Panelo then urged the public to read the entire report so “that they may not be deceived by intended negative and false commentaries.”
In his statement, Panelo pointed out how the report mentioned the developments in the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.
“Its assessment is respectful of the government’s deeper challenges, [like the] deaths of many law enforcement officers during operations, even as accountability of those from the same ranks is guaranteed through investigations of ‘any actions taken outside the rule of law,’” Panelo said.
“It recognizes the sentencing of three police officials involved in the Kian de los Santos killing, even as it noted that 1,274,148 individuals have surrendered for drug rehabilitation and clearance while our unprecedented war against illegal drugs and criminality has resulted in more detainees,” it added.
Panelo then cited how the report acknowledges government efforts to “promote speedy disposition of inmate cases, including the use of plea bargaining.”
Furthermore, Panelo said the US State Department’s report “is also sympathetic to the government’s challenges in the peace process.”
The report, Panelo said, also touches on the milestones “in addressing concerns of vulnerable groups” and “the free, fair and well-organized conduct of the local elections for barangay and youth officials in May last year.”
The U.S. State Department, in its annual global human rights report for 2018 released March 13, noted a “sharp rise” of extrajudicial killings with the onset of the Philippine government’s campaign against illegal drugs in 2016.
However, Panelo reiterated that “the President and this government have never sponsored any form of violation of human rights nor will they tolerate them.” /jpv
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