Philippines will always choose to protect rights of citizens over drug lords, Foreign Secretary tells UN assembly
Manila: Philippine Foreign Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano said reforms being instituted by the Duterte administration are geared towards preventing the country from becoming a narco state.
Speaking to delegates of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday, Cayetano said the focus of the current administration was to protect the rights of every Filipino and in the process of carrying out this mission, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte is making serious efforts to prevent the country from becoming a haven for illegal drugs and traffickers of such substances.
“As a sovereign and democratic country led by a duly-elected President, we are on track in salvaging our deteriorating country from becoming a narco-state,” Cayetano said.
“The Philippines and President Duterte are instituting all these reforms to be able to protect the rights of every single Filipino and every single human being living in the Philippines,” he added.
Cayetano told member states authorities in the Philippines will always choose to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens and law enforcers over the rights of drug lords and criminals who, he said, seek to kill and destroy.
“Wouldn’t you do the same? Which country, which leader wouldn’t do the same and protect your citizens and protect your law enforcers?” Cayetano asked.
“Faith without action is dead. And the United Nations is not a place to bury our dead, it is a place to rise up, to resurrect our hopes and dreams of a better world,” he stated.
He said member states must exert efforts to connect, to emphasise commonalities and not differences, and to think more as global citizens.
“We don’t always have to act as a community but neither can we ignore the fact that there are many problems which can only be solved by a united global community,” he added.
The Philippines had been under intense criticism from international bodies over the seeming high number of extrajudicial killings that victimise personalities suspected to be involved in the drugs trade from the street level up to major distributors. However, there were few reported incidents targeting transnational traffickers.
Reports on the number of fatalities in the drugs war vary but official police reports place the number of drugs trade related deaths to more than 4,000.
Non-government bodies such as the human rights watch and even United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have called the attention of the Philippine government over the high number of deaths. But the Duterte administration said it will be unmoved.