By Genalyn Kabiling
The United States Senator Bernie Sanders has “no business” meddling in the country’s affairs following his baseless criticisms on the alleged human rights abuses allegedly committed by the Duterte administration, a Palace official said Sunday.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar maintained that the government was “all for global human rights,” contrary to the latest grandstanding of the US senator.
“What we find abhorrent is that Senator Bernie Sanders and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) refuse to closely look at the facts at hand, and instead choose to make blanket statements that the Philippine government supposedly violates human rights,” he said.
“Senator Sanders is grandstanding on an issue he obviously does not know the details of, not to mention meddling in our national affairs, which he has no business over,” he added.
Sanders recently railed against the alleged human rights abuses committed by the Philippine government, citing the crackdown on trade unionists. Sanders, who is running for president in the 2020 elections, claimed that the alleged repression of trade unionists was “a shameful attempt to silence people’s rights and freedoms.”
“More than ever, we must stand on the side of global human rights,” he tweeted, sharing an online post from International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
In the article, the trade union group has condemned the alleged “new wave of police repression of Philippine trade unionists.” They mentioned the police raids on three offices of human rights and trade union organizations that resulted in the arrest and detention of 57 people.
Andanar, however, defended the police operations on suspected Communist terrorists in Bacolod City last October 31, saying they were actually “peaceful and precise” that nobody got hurt.
“Authorities did not act rashly in any way and actually gathered actionable intel before conducting the raids in the offices of the organizations,” he said.
He said several civilians who were captured during the operations were eventually released. “Hence, the supposed ‘government abuse’ that Sanders and ITUC claim is already false,” he added.
Andanar assured the public that the government has taken stringent measures during operations since they are “a matter of serious national security.” “These are steps we have to take in order to erode any probabilities of communist armed conflicts and in the long run attain peace and prosperity among Filipinos,” he said.
Meantime, Andanar cautioned the public against falling for the lies allegedly spread by Communist terrorists. He insisted that the government has no policy on state-sponsored killings and continues to respect human rights.
“It’s just that there are false narratives spread by those who want to bring the government down,” he said.
“We urge all observers and critics to check their facts as some may fall victim to the lies peddled by Communist terrorists–terrorists that have humanitarian organizations fronts who seek funding from other legitimate international institutions, only to be used for violence,” he added.
On the war on drugs, Andanar said the deaths linked to the anti-drug operations has reached around 5,000, and not 27,000 as alleged by some human rights groups.
“The reality is that suspected drug abusers refuse to subject themselves to the police and resort to violence– resulting to unfortunate deaths on both sides,” he said.
He said there were also instances that vigilantes and rival drug cartels were behind the killings.