Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assailed an international study that ranked Philippines as the second least peaceful country in the Asia-Pacific Region, describing it “not fair.”
“I don’t think the study is very conclusive. The method is at most faulty,” Lorenzana said, adding the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) used parameters that are not present in the Philippines.
The newly-released Global Peace Index showed that the country ranked 137th out of 163 nations, and was tagged as the second least peaceful country in the Asia-Pacific region, beating only North Korea, which ranked 150th in the global ranking.
“Well, we do not like it. But that is their study…. Next only to North Korea as least peaceful? No. If you ask the North Koreans, they will say that they are also peaceful dahil wala namang patayan dun eh, di ba? (because there are no killings there, right?),” he said.
The think tank attributed the score to the 5-month-long Marawi siege between the government forces and pro-Islamic rebels last year and the government’s war on drugs campaign.
Lorenzana defended the anti-drug campaign of the Duterte Administration that aims for a drug-free Philippines.
“A lot of people can go around very peacefully…Just because there is war on drugs it is the least peaceful? In fact, a lot of people are saying that their lives are more peaceful now because of the war on drugs,” Lorenzana argued.
Data released by the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) showed that a total of 91,704 anti-drug operations were conducted by the law enforcing agencies like the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police from July 1, 2016 to March 20, 2018.
During the same period, a total of 123,648 drug personalities were arrested, and 4, 075 drug personalities died during the conduct of anti-drug operations.
Lorenzana also said the military acknowledged that the threat of ISIS-linked armed groups remained in the country, however, he said there’s no “actual fighting” on the ground.
“The threat and actual fighting are two different things. The threat of ISIS is only there because some remnants of the Maute Group are still there and apparently they are, according to rumors, recruiting. But we cannot confirm that they are recruiting,” Lorenzana said.
The Philippines landed on the 137th spot this year, one notch higher than 138th in 2017.