Año says 'gov't has no responsibility' to help families of drug war victims
MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said the government has no responsibility or accountability to help the families of suspects killed in the drug war because these happened in "presumed legal anti-drug operations."
During the DILG budget hearing held during Monday, September 2, several congressmen raised the aftermath of the war on drugs.
Kabataan party list representative Sarah Elago asked Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde to confirm the recorded death toll. Albayalde initially gave a figure of 5,793 deaths since from July 2016 to July 2019, but Elago provided a number of 6,600.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency tallied over 5,000 persons killed as of November 30, 2018.
Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez asked, whatever the death toll is, how would Año help the wives and children of those killed?
“They are not involved in these crimes, and so if the family is not taken care of, we have a lost generation of children who will be problematic in the next generation because they will not be able to go to school,“ Rodriguez said.
In response, Año said his agency does not have any existing policy to address the bereaved families. However, he said, they are free to seek government assistance, particularly from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“Considering these are presumed legal anti-drug operations, so there is no responsibility or accountability on the part of the government to address the needs of the suspects. But we have a very compassionate government and any victims, any family of the victim can approach appropriate government agencies,” Año said.
One of the DILG’s main thrust next year is to “scale up the unrelenting drive against corruption, criminality, and illegal drugs.” (READ: 2020 budget priorities: Infrastructure, social services, peace and security)
Of the department's P236 billion budget, P656.28 million are allocated to institutionalizing the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy to local government units. – Rappler.com