(Photo Courtesy: http://www.mb.com.ph)

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go welcomed the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) on October 7, providing technical assistance to the Philippines to address human rights concerns in the country in relation to its war against dangerous drugs.

Go said that the resolution will “pave the way for deeper cooperation and more positive engagement in addressing the menace of illegal drugs in the country.”

The senator emphasized that the country already has the necessary mechanisms and functional institutions, such as the independent judicial system, and that the resolution will further strengthen these.

“I believe that we have the necessary mechanisms and functional institutions, including an independent judiciary. This will be a step in the right direction as this offer of technical assistance to the Philippines will further strengthen these mechanisms and institutions,” Go said.

“We have a robust and active democracy with an elected government which continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the vast majority of our people,” he added.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency cited that from the start of the campaign against illegal drugs in July 2016 until the latest data provided in August this year, 176,777 anti-illegal drugs operations had been conducted with over 256,788 persons arrested. In the same period, a total of 620 drug dens and clandestine laboratories were dismantled and 3,322 children within ages 7 to 17 years old were rescued from anti-drug operations.

Go then urged the international community to combat the illegal drugs trade as a global community now that it has taken a transnational character.

“As President (Rodrigo) Duterte said in his first address to the UN General Assembly, open dialogue and constructive engagement with the United Nations is the key,” Go noted.

The UNHCR resolution was proposed by the Philippines, India and Nepal, and UNHRC non-members, namely Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Thailand and Turkey. It was also adopted unanimously.

Under the resolution, the office of the UN Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet is asked to provide support to the Philippine government in its “continued fulfillment of its international human rights obligations and commitments.”

The assistance will focus on domestic investigative and accountability measures, data gathering on alleged police violations, and engagement with civil society and the Commission on Human Rights.

Moreover, it will also tackle national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up, counterterrorism legislation, and human rights-based approaches to drug control.

“Since Day 1, the Duterte Administration vowed to protect the rights of the Filipino from the evils of illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism. I look forward to more meaningful engagements with other countries and international bodies as we continue to provide a safe and comfortable life for all Filipinos,” Go added.

As a senator, Go said that he will continue the current administration’s campaign against illegal drugs. He said that he has filed measures that will bolster the law enforcement bodies and justice system.

“I have filed measures that will strengthen further the ability of our law enforcement bodies and justice system in combatting illegal drugs as well as to provide holistic measures, such as the establishment of more drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers nationwide,” Go stated.

In July 2019, Go filed Senate Bill 399 that seeks to establish drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers in every province in the country under the supervision of the Department of Health. It seeks to augment the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs by adopting a two-pronged approach: subduing the criminals responsible for drug-related crimes while providing care and attention for the rehabilitation and recovery of drug dependents.

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