MANILA—Instead of just criticizing the strong policies of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday asked international organizations to help the administration succeed in its campaign against illegal drugs.
Speaking before the Filipino community in New York City on Monday (Philippine time), Cayetano said that international organizations should consider equipping the Philippine National Police (PNP) with bullet-proof vests and body cameras to make the anti-drug operations “transparent.”
Cayetano, a staunch ally of Pres. Duterte, said that this would also prevent more cases of human rights violations.
“Instead of criticizing us and trying to stop international funding, why don’t you give us bullet-proof vests for our police? And why don’t you give us cameras like they use in the SEAL (sea, air, and land) teams, so you could see the drug bust and you could see why they fire at these people?” Cayetano said.
The senator earlier invited human rights groups to visit the country to “see for themselves” how the anti-drug campaign is making Filipinos a “much safer” place
“It’s not to criticize but to show you that in a multicultural world and with different socioeconomic backgrounds and different drugs, you can’t judge us simply from your point of view. Come over and see what’s happening,” he said.
Cayetano pointed out that the anti-drug campaign is not “a war against the poor” as reported in media, but “a war to defend the poor” from illegal drugs.
“The war on drugs is a program to get people out of poverty. Because no family with a drug addict as a brother, son, or father can get out of poverty. If we have three million addicts, that means we have three million families with a problem,” he said.
He stressed that the poor have become “victims” of the drug pushers and added that if government will not intensify its drug operations, the poor will continue to be exploited by the drug pushers.
“The poor cannot defend themselves, they need us most,” he added.