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MANILA, Philippines — A senior British diplomat raised concern over the rising number of deaths under investigation and urged the Philippines to conduct proper investigations in the so-called war on drugs.
Alok Sharma, the United Kingdom's minister for Asia Pacific, said he expressed the UK's position on how to address the narcotics problem in a recent discussion with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, admitting that the two countries have different views on the issue.
"Our view, which I expressed, is that the best way of dealing with this is through investigations which are intelligence-based with the view of cutting of supply of both funds and narcotics," Sharma said in a video released by the British Embassy in Manila.
He said the rule of law is "absolutely sacrosanct" in crime prevention efforts as it is essential to prosperity.
Sharma said that while the UK differs with the Philippine government in carrying out an anti-narcotics campaign, it offers assistance in drug rehabilitation programs.
"As the war on drugs move into the next phase, the UK stands ready to work with our friends in the Philippines in providing support for drug rehabilitation," Sharma said.
A scientific, multi-pronged policy in pushing illegal drugs off the markets has long been recommended as a more effective alternative to President Rodrigo Duterte's strategy to aggressively go after drug dealers, even shooting them dead in many circumstances.
Police have killed more than 2,000 individuals in five months in violent police operations, saying the drug suspects fought back, resisted arrest and ended up dead. About nearly 3,000 suspected drug personalities have also been killed by unknown assailants. A huge majority of those who died were low-income, street-level drug users and dealers.
Brookings Institution crime and drug policy expert Vanda Felbab-Brown said is it important for state personnel to make drug markets as non-violent as possible.
"The right objective should be to minimize violence in criminal markets and maximize public health. For both of those objectives, the war on drugs in the Philippines unleashed by Duterte is not only ineffective but outright counterproductive," Felbab-Brown said in an interview with Philstar.com. — with Philstar.com NewsLab
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