POLICE nationwide are under strict orders to strictly uphold equal and absolute rights for all amid their continuing war against crimes and illegal drugs which since July 2016 has left over 5,000 armed drug traffickers dead in gunfights with officers, Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde emphasized anew.
In an interview with ANC’s Headstart, the country’s top cop stressed that respect for human rights is deeply embedded in the PNP doctrine, systems and procedures and remains the fundamental framework of their rules of engagement or the Police Operational Procedures.
He made the statement amid President Duterte’s renewed warning to fight drugs with more violence’ The former Davao City mayor known for his fiery speeches said he will be harsh and “there might be widespread violence” as the police and the military battle drug traffickers in the remaining more than three years of his presidency.
Gen. Albayalde maintained that President Duterte has been saying this since the beginning of his term but he said “there was no widespread violence actually.”
“The President already repeatedly said that, but we perform our duties with accordance with the law. He didn’t say anything about going above the law. Probably, it’s just a part of him and how he says things...When you talk to the President, he always gives this directive of you do your job or you perform your duties within the ambit of the law,” he said.
The PNP this week has joined the entire nation in observing the National Human Rights Consciousness Week and the 70th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“We will remain steadfast and committed to our advocacy for human rights as foundation of justice and peace. It is ingrained in our institutional policy and deeply-rooted through our doctrine and mandate,” Gen. Albayalde said.
To institutionalize human rights advocacy, the PNP chief said that human rights training modules forms part of the standard program of instruction in all mandatory and specialized in-service training courses from basic recruit course to qualifying courses for senior officers.
In addition to mandatory training, the PNP is also conducting a 15-day specialized Human Rights Officers’ Course which is the first advance course on human rights among police agencies in Asia, he said.
PNP Human Rights Affairs Office officer-in-charge, Senior Superintendent Ildebrandi Usana said the PNP celebrates the week with various activities such as seminars and refreshers course on human rights for directorial staff and national support units.
It includes the conduct of custodial facility inspection to ensure that all PNP lock-up cells and holding facilities are in conformity with prescribed standards.
Usana said that the PNP is likewise continuing its close coordination with the Commission on Human Rights and Presidential Human Rights Committee in its institutional capacity development, one of which is full cooperation with multisectoral organizations.
To note, the Human Rights Affairs Office was activated on June 29, 2007 specifically tasked to mainstream and overview Human Rights concerns in the PNP’s policies and processes and responses to the requirements of due process and rule of law in police operations.