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Duterte uses exaggerated, non-existent or flawed data to justify his war against drugs – Reuters

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In a recent speech in Manila, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that two policemen die every day in his ongoing war on drugs in the country, a claim that is now widely known in the country.

However, this claim does not match up with police statistics, which indicated that from Duterte’s launching of his “war on drugs” on July 1 until October 12, thirteen police officers were killed. This can be translated to an average of one police dying every eight days because of the battle on illegal drugs.

According to a review of official government data and interviews with top anti-drug officials of the president conducted by Reuters, there are already numerous dubious claims that Duterte used to justify his anti-drugs campaign.

Officials revealed that the data presented to the public on the total number of drug users, the number of users needing treatment, the types of drugs being consumed and the prevalence of drug-related crime are either exaggerated, flawed, or non-existent. However, these officials also defended that the error in the statistics has but little relevance as long as the campaign shifted the focus of the country to the long-neglected crisis in the Philippines which is drugs.

“I don’t see it as a problem. Before our fight against dangerous drugs was a lonely battle. Now, everybody’s helping us—the community is helping us,” Wilkins Villanueva, the Metro Manila regional director for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said.

The original tally of deaths because of police operations related to drugs is 3,600 but this had been revised this month, claiming that only 2,300 people died in drug-related police operations ever since Duterte took office on June 30.

Duterte claimed during his State of Nation Address on July 25 that there were 3.7 million “drug addicts” in the Philippines and that he has to “slaughter these idiots for destroying my country.”

However, main drug policy and research unit, Office of the President’s Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), conducted a survey in 2015 and results showed that the actual drug users in the Philippines are fewer than half of what the President claimed.

Duterte refers to all drug users as “addicts” but the DDB data showed that one-third of the 1.8 million users had only one drug intake in the span of 13 months. Only 860,000 of them consumed crystal meth, or shabu, which is the drug that is widely blamed by officials for the high crime rates and social ills in the country. Most of them are marijuana users.

A senior Philippines law enforcement officer who preferred to be anonymous said that the “arbitrary” figures of the president is only putting pressure on the police and government officials.

“The problem is, every time the president says something, it’s already some sort of a policy statement. We have to toe the line.”

The officer revealed that in the past three months, more than 700,000 people surrendered to the police. However, authorities are expected to turn in 1.8 million “surrenderers” so that there will be a match with the DDB data.

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“That’s the reason we are having a hard time. We need to produce,” he added. “Even if we add up everything…we are not even close to 1.8 million.”

According to a drug-treatment specialist, statements by the President as well as by government officials fails to separate users and problem users and also distinguish users of shabu and marijuana.

Director of a University of Adelaide research center on drug and alcohol treatment who also works with the World Health Organization, Robert Ali, said that shabu and marijuana are very different substances “in terms of risk profiles and harm.”

Ali also said that although drug-problem is really big in the Philippines, it is hard to create an effective national response if the only basis is flawed data.

An official booklet called“Winning the First Phase of the Drug War” that was distributed by the president’s media team in the regional summit in Laos in September which was attended by world leaders, claimed that 75% of the “heinous crimes” in the Philippines are drug-related.

This “heinous crimes” include murder, rape, human trafficking, and treason.

The booklet cited the Philippines National Police Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) as the source of the statistics but six officials from the mentioned office and the people behind the booklet failed to identify a specific study which showed these statistics.

Crime index in the Philippines that was presented in a Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings on October 5 showed that it dropped 31% from January to August this year in comparison to the same period of last year.

Government officials view this as a result of Duterte’s “war on drugs.” However, police statistics showed that there was already a decline in crime rate during Former President Benigno Aquino’s term where an anti-drugs campaign was not conducted.

Moreover, the statistics that was used during the Senate hearing were the crime rate data where most of the time period was during Aquino’s presidency.

Villanueva of PDEA said that Duterte’s claim that there are 3.7 million drug addicts in the Philippines “doesn’t mean anything.” He also said that he believed the President has his own survey aside from the one from DDB. “But it’s not a scientific one.”

According to Villanueva, the important point is that resources are being exhausted in order to succeed in this ongoing anti-drugs campaign. He added that the PDEA are now in the process of hiring and training 400 more agents. The agency is also expected to receive more firearms, vehicles, and surveillance equipment.

Former DDB chief and a supporter of Duterte’s war on drugs, Senator Vicente Sotto, said that these figures actually serve a purpose as long as it scares users into quitting drugs.

“If they make people alarmed, then why not? It doesn’t hurt anyone,” Sotto said. “People don’t care how it’s done as long as it’s done.”

Sources: (gmanetwork.com, reuters.com)

 

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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