MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director-General Ronald dela Rosa on Saturday urged Filipinos not to easily believe negative reports about the government’s war on illegal drugs.
At a gathering of Filipinos in Hong Kong who were waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte, Dela Rosa told state-run network RTVM that OFWs should instead come home and see for themselves changes in the country since the government launched the nationwide campaign against illegal narcotics.
“Huwag kayo basta basta maniwala sa sinasabi nilang hindi maganda. Sino bang Filipino, sino bang pulis for that matter, na gustong masira ang ating bansa? Kami nagtatrabaho para sa ikabubuti ng ating bansa. Hindi talaga ma-satisfy ang lahat, mayroong iba na gustong siraan ang administrasyon,” Dela Rosa said.
“Maramdaman niyo iyan kapag umuwi kayo doon. You have to come home to see for yourselves kung ano ang nangyayari sa ating mga komunidad. Obserbahan ninyo kung may pagababago ba talaga o wala.”
Dela Rosa is again coming to the defense of the PNP amid persistent reports of police abuse under his term, such as the discovery of a “secret cell” in Tondo, Manila, and the death of a senior citizen who was allegedly victimized in the so-called “tanim-droga” scheme.
Duterte’s war on illegal drugs has been heavily criticized by western governments and institutions, but this has not stopped the government from carrying out its controversial campaign.
In an effort to fend off criticisms, the government recently undertook a campaign to belie reports that at least 9,000 people have been killed in the fight to rid the country of illegal narcotics.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who led the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) Universal Period Review, said under the Duterte administration, there were 9,432 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, and 2,692 deaths resulting from presumed legitimate police operations in the drug war.
He claimed that "in the past administrations, there was a 'low of 11,000 and a high of 16,000' " cases of extrajudicial killings.