MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs is not out of control, one of his top aides said Friday, amid concerns that the tough-talking leader’s primary crusade is leading the Philippines to the dustbin.
Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar came to the defense of the president after an opinion piece by Robert Muggah on The Guardian claimed that the Philippine government’s war on drugs is getting out of hand.
“The Guardian's call for economic sanctions by foreign countries on the Philippines is uncalled for. Threats of withdrawal of development aid and other forms of assistance are totally unfounded. The President remains undaunted as he will never compromise the dignity of the nation for foreign aid,” Andanar said in response to Muggah’s call for the international community to withhold aid for the Philippines due to its war on drugs.
“There is an enormous drug problem in the Philippines and [Duterte] is trying his best to keep the country from becoming a narco-state.”
In his column, Muggah said Duterte “refuses to face the fact” that the global war on drugs is failing and that many member states of the United Nations have agreed to employ a “more balanced and humane” approach in fighting the menace.
Muggah also accused Duterte of having a “nasty habit of playing fast and loose with the facts” by presenting supposedly questionable data to muster support for his war on drugs.
“Inflammatory rhetoric and dodgy data have real world consequences. Not only can they incite violence, but they also determine the shape of government policy,” Muggah argued.
Muggah also noted that foreign governments are “noticeably quiet” about Duterte’s campaign, even as he called on foreign governments and businesses to now think twice about dealing with the Philippines.
Refuting Muggah’s statement, Andanar noted that many Filipinos continue to support the government and its war on drugs.
“Public support for and trust in the President remain high as people feel secure in their homes, in the streets, day and night,” Andanar said.
“Incidents of homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft, and carnapping have gone down. Index crime volume decreased 31.67% from July to November 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.”