MANILA – Malacañang has branded as fallacious and baseless the report of a United States-based non-government organization tagging the Philippines a “war zone in disguise.”
The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project’s (ACLED) “Year in Review: 2018 Report on Worldwide Political Violence and Protest” was “remarkable in (its) ignorance and bias,” said Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
“Not having presented any proof that it has conducted factual investigation in the country as to the conditions obtaining, it is reasonable to believe that its conclusion is based on allegations made by groups that are hopelessly and blindly critical of the Duterte administration,” Panelo said.
These groups, he said, included the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, “as well as partisan media outfits like Rappler, Philippine Daily Inquirer, New York Times, and Reuters, among others.”
The Presidential Spokesperson then cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s high approval and trust ratings as a testament of the Filipinos’ trust and confidence on the administration.
“Our people recognize, feel and embrace the visible change happening in our land. To ACLED we say, as we have repeatedly conveyed to other foreign human rights organizations, we do not need lectures from inexpert foreign groups on how to run a nation,” Panelo said.
In its report released on Thursday, the ACLED listed the Philippines as one of the “deadliest countries for civilians” in 2018, alongside countries like Syria, Nigeria, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
“Describing the war on drugs as a state terror campaign targeting innocent civilians as a government policy is pure hogwash,” said Panelo.
ACLED is “a disaggregated conflict collection, analysis and crisis mapping project,” according to its website./PN