MANILA – The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) vowed transparency in assisting a newly-formed inter-agency panel conducting a “judicious review” into the over 5,600 deaths in the administration’s war on drugs.
PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar made this remark as he lauded Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for reassuring the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations (UN), and the rest of the international community that the Philippines continues to uphold human rights.
During the 44th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Tuesday (June 30), Guevarra bared that the national government has created an inter-agency body that will look into the 5,655 deaths in the drug war.
Andanar expressed support for the panel, the same way he did when the PCOO was actively involved in disseminating RealNumbersPH, the government’s “unitary report” on the anti-drug campaign.
“PCOO will assist the review panel in carrying out its mandate successfully and effectively, and with full transparency,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
He said the PCOO will also partner with law enforcement agencies, emphasizing the need to “establish the facts behind these claims.”
“The government takes seriously its duty to investigate all claims of human rights violations, and to prosecute perpetrators,” he said.
Andanar reiterated “the need for due diligence” in validating allegations brought forward by interest groups and parties.
Meanwhile, he also emphasized the value given by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte in ensuring that all government responses to societal problems, especially on the prevalence of illegal drugs, are always within the law and done with respect to human rights.
“Our vision to uplift the lives of millions of Filipinos is truly in line with our respect towards human rights,” he said.
He said the UNHRC dialogue affirmed that member-states recognize the Philippines’ transparency on the anti-illegal drug campaign and its positive engagement with the stakeholders here and abroad.
According to him, other countries acknowledge that the government has strong institutions that do not permit human rights violations, contrary to allegations made by critics and detractors.
Speaking during the 44th regular session of the UNHRC, Guevarra assured that human rights in the country is anchored on the administration’s agenda that seeks to promote and uplift the dignity of all 110 million Filipinos.
He said an assessment of the human rights situation in the Philippines can only be credible when it is properly informed by context on the ground. (PNA)