Interior Secretary Eduardo Año (File photo)
MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday assured to continue upholding the protection of human rights during the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Año said the DILG values the concern shown by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the alleged human rights violations in the Philippine government’s war against prohibited drugs.
“We are taking great measures in ensuring that the individual rights of the Filipino people are duly respected and protected,” he said in a statement.
He said the inter-agency partnerships are being maximized to address various aspects of the drug problem in the country.
“Together with other law enforcement agencies, we implement deliberate and responsible law enforcement operations to address the supply of illegal drugs in the Philippines,” he added.
Año said the government will not tolerate human rights violations as they have already prosecuted the killers of slain victim Kian Delos Santos as well as dismissed cops proven to have committed abusive and unacceptable behavior in their line of duty.
He said checks and balances are “well carried out” with coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP).
He also said through the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, they also publish drug-related cases to ensure both transparency and credible implementation of justice in the country.
“Further, we would like to stress that in this drug campaign, we give emphasis on curbing the demand for drugs as seen in our rehabilitation efforts and massive information drives against drug use,” said Año.
As local government units (LGUs) are active in this endeavor, Año said they are constantly monitoring the progress and activities of the LGUs through regular Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) audits.
He said these audits will make sure that the LGUs are properly implementing the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program for drug surrenderers and are strengthening the operations of their Balay Silangan Program to help drug users recover from their addiction.
“We also incentivize our best performing LGUs in the anti-illegal drugs campaign through the ADAC Awards. In addition to this, we included compliance to anti-illegal drug laws and ordinances as criteria of our Seal of Good Local Governance award,” he said.
In all these measures, Año said the DILG is fully committed to abiding by the 1987 Philippine Constitution and swear to respect every individual’s rights “as we, together with the interior and local government sectors, serve and protect the Filipino people.”
In a resolution, the European Parliament recommended the revocation of the Philippines’ Generalised Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP+) GSP+ status over the alleged “seriousness of the human rights violations” in the country.
Earlier, PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan said police would “never lower” its guard on the campaign against illegal drugs while upholding the protection of human rights.
During the 45th Human Rights Council session in Geneva, UN’s High Commissioner on Human Rights Michele Bachelet appealed to the Duterte administration to remove the policies, including the anti-narcotics campaign, which she said resulted in killings as well as other human rights violations.
Cascolan said the PNP would not back down on the campaign, noting that its anti-drugs operations are consistent with police operational procedures. (PNA)