Philippines Will Not Lift Its State of Emergency

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte talking to media -Photo AFP

The Philippines government is unlikely to lift anytime soon a State of Emergency which came into force after being called on by President Rodrigo Duterte in early September. The country has been under a stare of emergency following the bombing in Davao City on September 2, which left 15 people dead and 70 injured. talking to journalists, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said that he did not yet recommending its lifting as long as the campaign against illegal drugs and its dealers was on.

“The threat is linked to our war on drugs, as of now I cannot advise the President to lift the state of lawlessness,” Dela Rosa said to local media during a press briefing. More than 720,000 drugs users or dealers already surrendered to police forces, said the Chief Director General. Six months, he added, is not enough time to really clear the country of the illegal drug menace which is estimated to involve some 1.8 million people in the 100-million people-strong nation.

A cleaning of police forces is also on the way as it is estimated that 11,000 policemen and some 16,000 officials at barangay (district) levels are involved into the drug business. Many observers now point that the new anti-drugs campaign is a way to get rid of Philippines opponents to the current president and that many of the arrests and killings against drugs-user suspects are in fact political settling of accounts.

The implementation of the state of emergency and the fact that the use of weapon as fostered by the President himself to deal with drug-dealers might discourage some travellers, who could fear top be involved into rising arbitrary violence in the streets of the country.

While the USA, the European Union and some human rights groups have been critical about the means to fight drug trades, a surprising support came from Chian, which has expressed its support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign on Friday. China’s position is a sign of the warming in relations between the Philippines and its powerful northern neighbour.