Washington Post story on Manila drug war decried for discrediting Philippines

February 26, 2019

THE Philippine Embassy in Washington DC yesterday disputed a story published in the Washington Post which “seeks to discredit the Philippines in the eyes of the international community.”

In a statement, the Embassy said: “We take strong exception to the article entitled, ‘This is Manila” that appeared on the front page of the Washington Post on 25 February 2019.” “This is Manila” is about the unsolved killing of a 44-year-old jobless Filipino man in Tondo whose body was found floating under a bridge on January 14.

“It is disappointing how this article hides behind the guise of journalism to advance an agenda that seeks to discredit the Philippines in the eyes of the international community,” it said.

The article said “Whether the deaths are mostly related to Duterte’s war on drugs is unclear. But what connects them all is a kind of numbed silence.”

“Since President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power more than two years ago, the death toll from his war on drugs has kept climbing. Authorities report that more than 5,000 ‘drug personalities’ have been killed in police operations around the country,” it added.

Reacting to the article, the Embassy said “contrary to what its title hopes to provoke, the article paints a picture not of Manila, but of a hasty generalization that has no foundation in reality.”

“Unsurprisingly, the article fails to mention that majority of the Filipino people continue to back their government in the fight against illegal drugs,” the embassy said, citing the latest survey by the Social Weather Stations that showed 8 in 10 Filipinos are satisfied with the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.  Pulse Asia survey on the other hand showed public support for the campaign at 77% among Metro Manila residents.

“Reduced criminality is a major driver of public support,” the embassy said.

According to the Philippine National Police, total crime volume has gone down from 675,816 in 2015 to 473,068 in 2018, or a total decrease of 30%, the embassy noted.

Erring police personnel were likewise meted out disciplinary penalties, including dismissal from service, demotion, suspension, forfeiture of salary, reprimand, restriction and withholding of privileges, the embassy said.

“As a nation that cherishes freedom, democracy and justice, and as a responsible member of the international community, the Philippines upholds the rule of law and human rights in all its endeavors,” it said.

“We will continue to engage in sincere, constructive, and evidence-based dialogue with our international partners in the pursuit of common goals and mutual interests,” it added.