US Congress: No funds for Philippines' drug war
Members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency guard a house believed to have been used to the manufacturing of illegal drugs in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Friday, April 13, 2018. Two men were arrested together with chemicals and machines during the raid as the government continues President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called war on drugs.
AP/Aaron Favila
US Congress: No funds for Philippines' drug war
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - July 6, 2018 - 9:49am

MANILA, Philippines — The United States government may stop extending assistance to the Philippine National Police if its anti-drugs campaign would not be consistent with international human rights.

In its appropriations report for the US Department of State, the US House of Representatives suggested that funds appropriated for the Phillippines' counter-narcotics campaign be made available if Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would determine the Philippine government's compliance with international human rights standards.

The US Secretary of State would have to report first to the Committee on Appropriations if the Philippines had adopted policies consistent with human rights such as "investigating and prosecuting individuals who are credibly alleged to have ordered, committed, or covered up extrajudicial killings and other gross violations of human rights in the conduct of narcotics operations."

The limitations of the fund, however, would not apply to funds for drug demand reduction or maritime programs of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the US Senate appropriations noted that provisions of the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement may prohibit counternarcotics assistance to the Philippines with certain exceptions.

The US Senate also took note the "absence of the adoption and implementation of a counternarcotics strategy that is consistent with international rights" within the Philippine National Police.

The US Senate committee stated that Washington, through the US Agency for International Development, could still continue funding national and community-based drug treatment and reduction program under the Philippines' Department of Health.

"Such funds shall be made available on a cost-matching basis, to the maximum extent practicable," the US Senate said.

The US Senate also required Pompeo to submit a report assessing the Armed Forces of the Philippines' compliance with human rights and rule of law.

While the US Senate commended the Philippine military's efforts in combating terrorism, it stressed that the AFP must be a "legitimate defender of the state and all the people of the Philippines."

The report, which will be submitted to appropriate congressional committees, must also assess the possible involvement of the AFP in extrajudicial killings and investigation on military personnel who commit gross human rights violations.

"The report shall also include a description of the steps taken by the AFP to implement policies and reforms to prevent such abuses," the US Senate said.

Sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), the US Senate's budget proposal for the Department of State and foreign operations has been placed on the legislative calendar since June 21.

The latest recommendations of the US Congress are for the next fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019.

This is not the first that the US government has shifted away its assistance from law enforcement since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

In 2016, the US Department of State shifted its focus from narcotics control to maritime security efforts in the Philippines.

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