At the United Nations General Assembly over the weekend, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. warned the body against interfering with the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs.
Yasay asked the member-nations to allow the Philippines to deal with its own domestic challenges in order to achieve our national goals.
In the weeks following Mr. Duterte’s inauguration, the international community has raised the alarm over what appeared to be a spate of summary killings of suspected drug dealers, an overwhelming majority of whom hailed from depressed communities. About 3,000 have died under these circumstances since June 30 alone —less than 100 days ago.
Duterte, for his part, has come out swinging against his most vocal critics including the UN, the United States and most recently the European Union.
The President has not hesitated to use foul language and gestures against these bodies which he perceives are hypocrites, attempting to lecture Filipinos on human rights when they themselves have not addressed their own issues or delivered justice to others.
Yasay took this message to the UN this weekend—thankfully without the expletives—and even attempted to assure the international community that everything done in the fight against drugs is legal.
“We have not and we will never empower our law enforcement agents to shoot-to-kill individuals suspected of drug crimes...extrajudicial killings have no place in our society, and in our criminal justice system.”
But if everything were aboveboard, why get defensive and talk like a rogue state in the first place, practically asking the international community to back off? This is just another instance of the Duterte administration making conflicting statements that do little to boost our credibility outside the country.
There is no question that the drug menace is a monster that needs to be fought. What we need to show the world—and it is foolish to act as though we could ever really act on our own without minding the opinion of the community of nations —is that we know exactly how to temper this zeal with civility and respect for life.