I was standing right in front of him last Wednesday when PNP chief, General Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa challenged American lawmakers and other foreign groups accusing the Duterte government of committing massive human rights violations in line with its anti-drug war to visit the Philippines and see for themselves the ‘real situation’ in the country instead of merely relying on reports being fed by biased international and local news agencies.
His spokesman, Senior Superintendent Dionards Carlos echoed the PNP chief’s statement yesterday and said “let them visit/come to the Philippines and see for themselves what is the real situation in this country and not simply rely on reports from biased sources.’’ The member of PMA Class 1988 was reacting to another report from an international group that ‘’under the current government, Filipinos are at growing risk of grave violations that may amount to crimes against humanity.’’
Ironically, many groups have sprouted since President Duterte won the presidency last May and ordered the PNP to launch a no-nonsense campaign against illegal drug trafficking and abuse. The subject of Carlos’ reaction was a report carried by a hitherto unknown group called Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. What’s this group? And why all of a sudden, many groups have mushroomed to portray the country in a very bad light?
Gen. de la Rosa made the statement while clarifying that contrary to a Reuters’ report carried by many news organizations in the country, the winning supplier of an estimated P1.7 billion worth of assault rifles from the U.S. has informed the PNP last Monday that the processing of their gun permits at the US State Department is going smoothly.
Reuters reported that the US State Department halted the planned sale of 26,000 rifles to the PNP after US Senator Ben Cardin said he would oppose it over concerns about human rights violations in the Philippines. However, Sig Sauer told the PNP that the export license for the delivery of the rifles is undergoing normal process in the US State Department. In the event the U.S. really cancels the deal, the PNP and the government won’t be the loser here. It would be the supplier, I will tell you.
Besides, I could only just shake my head when I read that the U.S. is planning to halt the sale of the assault rifles to the PNP when the Americans are considered the number one weapons’ supplier in the whole world, supplying all kinds of armaments to different countries and even armed civilians whose quest to topple their governments is being supported by the U.S. This has been proven time and time again in countries like Vietnam, Afghanistan, Syria and other war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Gen. de la Rosa said they are procuring 27,394 units of Basic Assault Rifles (BAR) through Agency Procurement Request at the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management utilizing the funds from the Capability Enhancement Program 2010-2015 with an Approved Budget Contract of P2 billion.
“Our contract price totaled to 1.7 billion pesos, the Contract Agreement was signed on July 13, 2016 and Notice to Proceed on July 29, 2016 to the winning bidder, Sig Sauer, Inc. represented by Intrade Asia Pacific Corporation for the supply and delivery of the assault rifles with price per unit of about P64,000,” the PNP chief said. That means the winning supplier would lose a P1.7 billion gun deal if the U.S. government will cancel their contract.
Gen. de la Rosa sharply reacted to efforts being made by some quarters to paint a very bad picture of our dear country, some even trying to portray the Philippines as a dangerous place to live in this earth since anybody could be shot and killed anytime of the day.
“Please verify properly your reports. Kung gusto ninyo kayo mismo yung pumunta dito, feel it for yourselves anong nangyayari dito. Huwag lang po kayong basta-bastang tumanggap ng mga reports from biased media outlets. Yun ang aking advice sa kanila,” he exclaime. Gen. de la Rosa said these biased media entities—he did not name them but said they include international news publications and some local media companies— highlight only the bad news and downplay the good news in their reports.
The PNP chief expressed disappointment over the failure of many foreign and local groups, media included to report that the ongoing anti-drug campaign has resulted in massive reduction in street crimes and that more people now feel much safer in the streets compared to the situation during past administrations.
Carlos said the PNP chief’s invitation for US officials and other entities to come and investigate firsthand these alleged extrajudicial cases is open. “We ask what is the basis/bases for their concern about EJKs arising from a state-sanctioned war on drugs in the Philippines,” he said. Carlos yesterday said that their records will show that since July 1, the PNP has conducted 33,898 anti-drug operations across the country leading the killing of 1,790 armed drug personalities in gunbattles with the police and the arrest of 33,105 others during buy-bust operations, service of search warrants, checkpoints and police responses.
Carlos said that PNP agents have also visited 2,990,497 houses in line with its Oplan: Tokhang which resulted in the surrender of 758,377 drug suspects composed of 703,363 confessed shabu and marijuana users and 55,014 drug dealers. Those numbers mean that nearly more than 734,000 drug personalities in the country have been identified, over 33,000 of them now in jail, their chance to sell drugs growing smaller every day. That means a much safer place to live since it’s a known fact that many street criminals are attacking their preys in order to have money to buy drugs.