Palace blasts New York Times editorial for citing watchdog’s survey
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday slammed the New York Times for an editorial piece that cited an international watchdog’s survey that reportedly showed the Philippines as being the “bloodiest” country for land rights activists.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the editorial was “not surprising.”
“The editorial of the NYT is not surprising since the newspaper has been dishing out false information and narratives on the Philippine situation under the leadership of PRRD,” Panelo said in a statement.
“The American publication has not exerted the research required of responsive journalism. Neither did it conduct an in-depth independent study on such a delicate subject-matter,” he added.
The New York Times released an editorial piece on Thursday titled “In the Fight to Save the Planet, Its Defenders Are Being Killed.” It cited a survey by Global Witness which reportedly found that of the 164 land rights activists killed worldwide, 30 were killed in the Philippines.
Earlier, the Palace blamed the reported rise in the number of killings of land rights activists to the “viciousness” of the claimants.
“Global Witness made it appear that it is the government which is to blame for the situation while failing or omitting to factor the local communist movement and armed conflicts as critical components thereof,” Panelo said of the survey.
“It has not considered the fact that many of our local authorities, security forces, and even tribal leaders died protecting land rights against communist insurgents who want to control these areas,” he added.
Panelo also denied that President Rodrigo Duterte is “brutal,” as he was described in the editorial.
“The President is not brutal. He does not allow any law enforcer to use savage methods in enforcing the law,” Panelo defended. “Anyone who goes against police protocols in effecting arrest and complying with court orders are prosecuted administratively and criminally.”
“The President is very strict in enforcing the law. No friendship, alliances or blood relationship temper nor impede this enforcement. No one is spared from the harsh application of the law.”
The Presidential Spokesperson also noted that in the Duterte presidency, unlike those before, following the law “is not an option but requires absolute obedience to it.”
“The governance of the President is based on his constitutional duty to serve and protect the Filipino people. No force on earth nor the baseless condemnation from the outside world will chain or halt this President from performing the constitutional command of protecting the nation and preserving the Republic.” /muf
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