Duterte designates ‘focal person’ in war on drugs

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2017 01:46 PM

MANILA– President Rodrigo Duterte has designated a “focal person” in his war on drugs, as government continues to improve its campaign amid accusations of human rights violations.

Through Presidential Directive No. 5, Duterte named Assistant Secretary Aurora Ignacio of the Office of the President as the focal person who shall “receive inquiries or clarifications and provide the necessary intervention on matters pertaining to the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.”

The directive also mandates Ignacio to ensure that those offering assistance to the anti-illegal drugs campaign are immediately accommodated.

As of writing, Malacañang has yet to give additional details on Ignacio’s tasks, as the government has already established an inter-agency committee to ensure that the anti-drug campaign is carried out effectively.

The Duterte administration has many times defended its drug war against critics, saying reported figures- from 7,000 to 9,000- were overblown.

Latest Philippine National Police (PNP) data show that a total of 3,200 drug personalities were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017, or 9 killed daily in presumed legitimate anti-drug operations in the first year of the Duterte administration. 

The PNP has also determined that out of the 12,833 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to June 16, 2017, 2,098 deaths were drug-related and 2,535 non-drug related. A total of 8,200 homicide cases were under investigation "with motives to be determined," the PNP said.

The human rights body of the United States House of Representatives is set to begin an investigation into the "the human rights consequences" of Duterte's war on drugs. 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has said the government expects due process in the investigation.