DILG: INCLUSION OF PH IN US STATE DEP’T ADVISORY QUESTIONABLE
Foreigners in the country have no reason to be alarmed as kidnapping cases continue to decrease according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), questioning the US State Department list which named the Philippines one of the countries with high kidnapping risk.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that kidnapping cases in the country have been steadily in a downward trend in recent years through the government’s relentless and proactive stance in its peace and order program.
“A list is just a list. What we have are factual data pointing to the decreasing number of kidnapping cases in the Philippines. That’s what we are banking on,” Año says.
The US State Department has named the Philippines among 35 countries, together with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Malaysia and Russia with high kidnapping risk advising Americans to take extra caution when travelling in those countries.
“We do not know yet how they came up with the list but with the strong stance of President Rodrigo Duterte against criminality in general, we see no basis for including us in this list. We will request from the US Embassy what were the parameters used since even Malaysia and Russia were included,” he said.
According to the data of the Philippine National Police (PNP), there were only 68 cases of kidnapping in the country in 2018, majority of which were in Mindanao, 11 cases lower than in 2017. As of this writing, there are only 10 cases of kidnapping for 2019.
While in comparison with the US, as reported by CNN and collated in 2017, there are 88,089 active missing person records, of which juveniles under the age of 18 account for 32,121 (36.5%) of the records. The report was based according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person File. There are no online statistics however, for 2018 and 2019 yet, detailing if there has been a change so far.
On the country’s data about the cases of kidnapping, PNP Spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac says that as what the figure shows “there is a decreasing trend of kidnapping cases due the relentless anti-terrorism and anti-criminality campaign of the government.”
The DILG Chief prides that the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, has made it safer for visitors. “While personal precaution is necessary, Martial Law has allowed the Philippine government to deploy more security forces to Mindanao to ensure the safety of the people and foreign guests,” he explains.
He continues by saying that the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) also marks another milestone in the government’s drive for lasting peace and order in Mindanao “where kidnapping cannot foster and security and development will be a priority. (with reports from PNA and CNN)