Learn from New York experience, Bato told
Former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chair Loretta Rosales has appealed on Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to respect human rights in police operations as the government steps up its war on drugs.
“Let us learn from other countries, which have transformed their cities,” she said, citing New York City which now has one of the lowest crime rates in the United States.
The police have come under intense criticism over the spate of killings, particularly of suspected drug users or dealers, since the start of the administration of President Duterte, who has publicly backed executions as a tool to arrest a crime wave.
Fortify police presence
“We should fortify police presence and visibility in the streets, like what they do in New York,” Rosales said, citing a recent commentary by Portland-based theology professor Christina A. Astorga that appeared in the Inquirer.
New York rode a crime wave in the 1970s and 1980s, but has since been transformed into one of the 10 safest cities in the world largely due to its “legal, intelligent and systematic” approach to crime, Rosales said.
“It did not engage in vigilante killings. We should do the same in our country,” she said.
Rosales commended police for facilitating mass surrenders, despite reports that some people were taken from their homes and made to sign “confessions” under duress.
“This aspect of your campaign is commendable and we congratulate you since this is the first time it appears that users and pushers have volunteered to surrender en masse,” she said.
She said the crackdown “jolts us into recognizing the cruel enslavement of tens of thousands of people to illicit drugs” which has deprived them of a decent living.
Citing the Inquirer’s daily “Kill List” tallying the number of police killings since Mr. Duterte took office, Rosales said the summary executions seemed to “blur in a gray mix that appear to be one and the same as the increasing breakdown of law and order.”
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