Survey rating on fewer drug users driven by fear, says ex-CHR chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2019 12:36 PM | Updated as of Feb 18 2019 01:23 PM

The family, neighbors and supporters of Kian delos Santos pay tribute at the site where he was slain during an anti-drug operation in Barangay 160, Baesa Libis, Caloocan City on the eve of his death anniversary, August 15, 2018. George Calvelo, ABS CBN News

MANILA - Survey results showing a decreased perception of drug use prevalence is "largely driven by fear," former Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Etta Rosales said Monday.

Sixty-six percent of respondents in the Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll released Saturday said there were fewer drug addicts in their areas compared last year.

"It's largely driven by fear and an effort to get the police out of their communities, para hindi na sila istorbohin (so they would no longer be disturbed)," Rosales said of the survey in an ANC interview.

"You must remember that there was and still is a climate of fear and trauma in the communities," she added.

Perhaps another reason that respondents said there were fewer drug users is because "they're dead, they're no longer there to be found," said Rosales.

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At least 5,317 alleged drug suspects were killed from the time the administration's anti-illegal drugs campaign began on July 1, 2016 until December 18, 2018, independent monitoring by the ABS-CBN Investigative & Research Group showed.

Six out of every 10 victims were killed in operations conducted by law enforcement agencies, including police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives, data showed.

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The SWS survey on drug users was a “validation of the success” of the government’s war against drugs, Malacañang said in a statement.

“As we all know, it is a major campaign platform of President Duterte and remains a centerpiece program of his administration, notwithstanding the harshest criticisms, brickbats and pressures the current government is receiving here and abroad," the Palace said.

The government has built rehabilitation centers for drug dependents, making its anti-narcotics drive no longer purely law enforcement, said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

"Holistic approach na, hindi lang iyung nagba-buy bust operation ka, sinisira mo iyung apparatus ng illegal drug industry. May kasama nang rehabilitation," he said in a separate ANC interview.

(It's already a holistic approach, you no longer just mount buy bust operations or destroy the apparatus of the illegal drug industury. Rehabilitation goes with that now.)

Law enforcers, he added, wear body cameras in drug sweeps and investigate any accusation of abuse.

"Kung you feel that there is irregularity, file a case in court para malaman natin at maparusahan ang mga dapat parusahan," he told the public.

(If you feel there is irregularity, file a case in court so we could know about it and punish those who should be punished.)