'With humility': UK offers help in solving PH drug problem

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2017 04:18 PM

MANILA - The United Kingdom has offered to help Philippines in its quest to quell illegal drugs, its envoy to Manila said Monday, even as it earlier expressed serious concern over alleged extra-judicial killings in President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign.

"If there are any elements of the British experience in dealing with drugs would be relevant and essentially of use to the authorities in the Philippines, we stand ready to share that experience, but we do so with humility," Ambassador Daniel Pruce told ANC's Headstart.

Pruce said UK also has its own drug challenges but a great part of their approach had been to give the drug addicts "support and opportunity to overcome that addiction and rehabilitate themselves into society."

Part of their effort, he said, involved "using the legal framework and prosecuting people who are breaking the law in accordance with the law " and trying to "address some of the problems that drive people to taking drugs."

"There’s no single solution that works in every country. Every country’s situation is different, but particularly in the area of this comprehensive approach, a blended series of intervention, and also we have a great focus on rehabilitation. There’s something in our experience that would be helpful here in the Philippines, we stand ready to offer that support," he said.

UK was one of the 39 member-states of the United Nations that urged the Philippines to probe killings and protect human rights defenders.

Pruce said their priority was to apply the rule of law and to assure that the legislative framework was applied "openly, fairly, and transparently with full accountability."

Latest police estimates placed the number of drug suspects slain in legitimate anti-drug operations at around 3,800, whereas human rights groups have placed the deaths at tens of thousands.

The government has denied this, with the Philippine National Police saying there had been no extra-judicial killings since Duterte assumed office in July last year.