Philippines slams U.S. human rights report, defending anti-drug war



The Philippines on Saturday slammed the United States for raising concerns anew about alleged extrajudicial killings in the country and increase on police impunity in connection with President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

"The Philippines is a sovereign state with a fully functioning democracy led by a legitimately elected government that is getting things done for the Filipino people," said Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in a statement.

"We do not need others who think they know better than us Filipinos to tell us what to do."

As a sovereign nation, Cayetano said, the Philippines deserves the same kind of respect they have been extending to their friends in the international community.

"While we note that the United States and other entities such as the European Parliament have their own reporting mechanisms, the Philippines has its own internal processes and mechanisms to ensure that the human rights of all our people are protected and respected," Cayetano said.

"We would like to emphasize that our vigorous campaign against criminality, most especially against the illegal drug trade, seeks to promote the welfare and protect the human rights of all Filipinos, to save lives, to preserve families, to protect communities and stop the country from sliding into a narco-state," he went on.

Cayetano assured the international community that in the conduct of the campaigns the government will remain guided by the rule of law embodied in the constitution, which also enshrines the country's long-standing tradition of upholding human rights.

Cayetano was reacting to the 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched the anti-drug crackdown after he took office in June 2016 to wipe out the drug trade in the Philippines, vowing to restore social order and create favorable environment for economic development.

According to the website of the Philippine National Police, from July 1, 2016 to January 17, 2018, the police has conducted a total of 81,919 anti-drug operations resulting in the arrests of 119,361 and the killings of 3,987 drug suspects.