U.S. bill filed to restrict arms exports to PNP

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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U.S. bill filed to restrict arms exports to PNP


US Senator Benjamin Cardin says this proposed law shows the 'consequences' if President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody war on drugs continues

MANILA, Philippines – Two US senators filed a bill restricting the export of certain weapons and equipment from the United States to the Philippine National Police (PNP) as a consequence of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. 

The proposed Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act of 2017 was filed by Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin and Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday, May 4.

This is a bill “to restrict the exportation of certain defense articles to the Philippine National Police, to work with the Philippines to support civil society and a public health approach to substance abuse, to report on Chinese and other sources of narcotics to the Republic of the Philippines, and for other purposes.”

Cardin is a ranking member of the US Senate foreign relations committee.

“President Duterte has unleashed a campaign of extrajudicial killings in his country that has horrified the international community,” the senator said.

“Mr Duterte must handle criminal issues through the rule of law and allow drug addicts access to the public health services and treatment they deserve. In the absence of such actions, this legislation is clear in its support for the Filipino people and the importance of our alliance, but also the consequences if Mr Duterte’s actions continue,” he added.

Cardin earlier said, as well, that he was “deeply disturbed” by US President Donald Trump’s “cavalier” invitation to Duterte to visit the US. 

Rubio meanwhile described the war on drugs implemented by the PNP as “deeply alarming.” 

“This is not the right way to conduct an anti-drug campaign, and our legislation reflects our sincere desire to work with the Philippines to support human rights, expose narcotics networks emanating from mainland China and other countries, and use a public health approach to responsibly counter the dangers that drugs pose to our societies,” Rubio said. 

In November 2016, Duterte ordered the PNP to cancel the purchase of assault rifles from the US after Cardin reportedly wanted to block their sale.

In the same month, however, PNP chief chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said that the PNP has “the blessing of the President to continue the transaction as long as it’s not barred.”

Duterte’s war on drugs has killed at least 7,000 people, from both legitimate police operations and vigilante-style killings. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior multimedia reporter covering religion for Rappler. He also teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.