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ELCAC rejects US senators' call to denounce PH for "abuses"

By Perla Lena / Philippine News Agency

NOT DESERVING OF CONDEMNATION. Western Visayas Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF6-ELCAC) spokesperson Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales on Thursday (Aug. 5, 2021) released a statement questioning the call of the 11 American senators to condemn the alleged human rights violations in the Philippines. He said the foreign senators have a "biased and myopic opinion" of the country's anti-drug campaign. (PNA file photo)

ILOILO CITY – The Western Visayas Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF6-ELCAC) on Thursday told United States senators "not to undermine" the Philippine government's efforts "to reclaim our communities from the clutches of the drug cartels and the communist terrorist groups".

RTF6-ELCAC spokesperson Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales made the statement after 11 Democrat lawmakers, led by Senator Edward Markey, called the attention of the administration of US President Joe Biden “to stand with the people of the Philippines as they continue to fight for their universal human rights”.

Markey chairs the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific.

Gonzales stressed the American legislators have no idea of the harsh realities on the ground as "you are not in our shoes".

He added that as a trial prosecutor, he witnessed how the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has taken head-on the drug cartels in the Philippines, and effectively dismantled the long-existing drug trade structures of narco-politics, narco- judiciary, narco-economics, and narco-communities.

The current administration made possible what seemed to be impossible by other administrations, he said.

“The 11 US senators do not understand this fact. Their biased and myopic opinion of the Philippines' anti-drug campaign is a product of bad research, biased media reporting, and lack of serious discernment,” Gonzales said in a statement given to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Instead of focusing on the Philippine human rights situation, he urged the senators to condemn the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, racial discrimination, human trafficking, and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

He added that they cannot even castigate the human rights violations committed by racists in their country or their government’s meddling in the internal affairs of other sovereign states.

"If you cannot do the same in your own backyard, then do not undermine us because we can,” Gonzales said.

The Democrat senators' call to condemn the "pattern of human rights violations", particularly amid the Philippines' campaign against illegal drugs, was made in a July 26 letter to US State Secretary Antony Blinken.

The American lawmakers also flagged alleged attacks against the critics of the current Philippine government, free speech, and raised concerns on the alleged red-tagging of individuals and groups. (PNA)



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