Filipinos give thumbs up to Duterte’s ‘excellent’ drugs war: poll

Alleged dealers stand next to drug paraphernalia confiscated during a police operation conducted in Manila in this March 15, 2018 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2019

Filipinos give thumbs up to Duterte’s ‘excellent’ drugs war: poll

  • Survey: around 82 percent satisfied due to a perception of less drugs and crime in the country
  • ‘If it’s true that there are human rights violations then the people of this country will rise against this administration’

MANILA: Philippine citizens are overwhelmingly satisfied with President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, a survey showed, giving a boost to a government outraged by an international push to investigate allegations of systematic murders by police.
The quarterly poll of 1,200 Filipinos by Social Weather Stations returned a rating of “excellent” for Duterte’s three-year campaign, with 82 percent satisfied due to a perception of less drugs and crime in the country.
That compared to 12 percent dissatisfied, because they believed the drug trade was still flourishing and there were too many killings and police abuses. The survey conducted by the independent pollster in late June had 6 percent undecided.
It was released two days after the leak of a presidential memo ordering departments and state-run firms to decline loans or aid from the 18 countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) — among them Spain, Britain and Australia — that backed a resolution to investigate Duterte’s crackdown.
Police say they have killed more than 6,700 suspected drug dealers who all resisted arrest, and deny involvement in the mysterious murders of thousands more drug users.
Police reject allegations by human rights groups that they have executed targets, falsified reports and tampered with evidence and crime scenes.
Presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said the poll showed that the international community had a warped understanding of what was happening.
“If it’s true that there are human rights violations then the people of this country will rise against this administration,” Panelo said on Monday.
“It’s not true that policemen just kill at will, they cannot do that,” he added.
The 47-member Council approved a resolution in July to compile a comprehensive report on the killings, which Manila’s foreign secretary said will not be permitted in the Philippines.
Panelo said domestic investigations had been undertaken already, and the UN resolution was “not only unfair, it’s an insult.”
The International Criminal Court has since last year been conducting a preliminary examination to determine if there are grounds to investigate Duterte. He has responded by canceling the Philippines membership of the court.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said domestic surveys showing support for Duterte and his campaign were exactly why an international probe was needed.
“It’s ridiculous to say there is any sort of serious national investigation into these crimes. It’s laughable,” he told news channel ANC.
“We have total impunity that continues to surround those who are involved in this,” he added.


Pakistan stays on FATF terrorism financing ‘gray list’

Updated 59 min 1 sec ago

Pakistan stays on FATF terrorism financing ‘gray list’

  • FATF urges Islamabad to swiftly complete full action plan by June 2020
  • Says it will ‘take action’ if Pakistan fails to comply

KARACHI: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money-laundering and terror financing watchdog, on Friday gave Pakistan until June 2020 to improve its anti-terrorism financing measures.
“The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by June 2020,” the global body said in a statement issued at a plenary meeting in Paris.
This is the second four-month extension given to Pakistan to implement the agreed action plan.
The global watchdog decided to keep Pakistan on its gray list until the country’s next progress review in June.
The FATF said it would “take action” if Pakistan failed to make progress in prosecuting and penalizing terrorism financing.
In response to the FATF decision, the Pakistani government reiterated its commitment to taking all necessary action required.
“A strategy in this regard has been formulated and is being implemented,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
“(The) FATF reviewed progress made by Pakistan toward implementation of the Action Plan, while acknowledging the steps taken by Pakistan toward implementation of the Action Plan and welcoming its high level political commitment,” the statement read.
The ministry said that during the last reporting period, Pakistan had made “significant progress” in the implementation of the 27-point FATF plan, which was demonstrated by the completion of nine additional action items.
While noting the improvements, the FATF expressed concerns over Pakistan’s failure to complete the action plan in line with the agreed timelines and “in light of the TF (terrorism financing) risks emanating from the jurisdiction.”
“Pakistan was required to completely ban terror outfits, take measures to control cash flows, and make laws to curb money laundering,” Muzamil Aslam, a Pakistani economist, told Arab News. “Now it is political will to take measures by June 2020 to get the country out of gray list.”
Ahead of the FATF meeting, Pakistan sentenced Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed to five and a half years in prison on terrorism financing charges. The move was seen as a demonstration of compliance with FATF recommendations.
Pakistan managed to avoid the FATF’s balcklisting thanks to support from friendly countries, including Malaysia, Turkey and especially China.
Ahead of the FATF summit, Pakistan’s de facto finance minister, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, said that “China and other brotherly countries have supported Pakistan throughout the process in terms of guiding the country to improve its frameworks.”
Pakistan was placed on FATF’s gray list of countries with inadequate control over curbing money laundering and terrorism financing in 2018.

Related