Philippines now more peaceful, says Cayetano

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2017 05:37 PM

The focus of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration is not just about ridding the country of illegal drugs but also protecting the rights of over 100 million Filipinos, said incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. 

"The president is aware that in protecting the human rights of all, there has to be rules and rules have to be universal," he said in a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Cambodia. 

Cayetano said foreigners doing business in the country now find it more safe to be in the Philippines even as the government continues its campaign against drugs.

"May we invite you, the foreign media, to visit the Philippines, do it quietly, do it with all the fanfare but do it with an open mind and we will show you that the country is becoming more peaceful, open for business and we will protect you, your business and your persons," Cayetano said.

Cayetano said the 7,000 to 9,000 alleged victims of extra-judicial killings is not the correct number. 

“In the 6 years of president Aquino there had been more than 90,000 legitimate operations against drugs. In only 10 months, there has been 50,00 operations. Naturally, the more operations, the more arrests, more surrenderers--1,266,00 Filipinos either pushers or users have surrendered voluntarily--and close to 3,000 have been killed in presumed legitimate police operations,” he said.

He also clarified that the figures being reported in media are "homicides" and not the real number of deaths in the drug war. 

In a recent forum in Manila, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said there were 9,432 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017. Out of the total, 1,847 cases were found to be drug-related although 5,691 cases were still under investigation. 

“And we have had between 11,000 to 16,000 homicides in the last 6 years,” he said. 

Cayetano led a 16-man delegation to the Universal Periodic Review held before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this week.