By Jess Diaz – Philippine Star
The country’s reelection to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has silenced President Duterte’s critics “who have been bellyaching about human rights non-issues ever since he won the presidency in 2016,” a senior lawmaker said yesterday.
The reelection is a vote of confidence in the President’s anti-drug war and should prompt the administration to “remain relentless in licking the scourge of illicit drugs despite political noise,” Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte said.
“This incessant bellyaching about supposed human rights concerns has become a lost cause for the political opposition in the face of this virtual stamp of approval from the global community and the overwhelming support of Filipinos for the President’s anti-drugs campaign as reflected in the results of public opinion surveys,” he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has reported that the country has retained its seat in the 47-member UNHRC. The Philippines, which will end its fourth term in the council this year, will serve a fresh term of three years until 2021. It received 165 out of the 192 votes cast.
Villafuerte noted that a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations last June 27-30 showed that 78 percent of Filipinos were satisfied with the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, while only 13 percent were not.
He said local government officials “have an obligation and duty to their constituents to support the President’s relentless war against drug traffickers and their cohorts in the government and the police force.”
He said barangay officers could assist the national government in rehabilitating drug users by helping those who could be treated as outpatients in their respective communities.
“Many drug dependents can still be treated as outpatient cases. Thus, there’s no need to confine them in rehabilitation centers. If we can address cases in the barangay level through the assistance of barangay health workers, we would be addressing the problem at the grassroots and could thus prevent further deterioration of drug rehab cases,” he said.
Villafuerte has filed a bill seeking the establishment of a drug rehabilitation center in Libmanan town in his province.
He also called on officials of local government units (LGUs) to set up such facilities in their areas and encourage drug users to seek help from them.
He said LGUs now have the means to undertake drug rehabilitation initiatives as these are among the projects newly opened for funding from their Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA).
He said under a joint memorandum of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Budget and Management, drug centers were added to the list of projects that could be financed by IRA, which represents LGUs’ share of national taxes.