The Duterte administration will intensify its campaign against crime and illegal drugs in the country, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said on Thursday, in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest pronouncement that he would make radical changes in public order and security.
In a Palace briefing, Roque said the President expressed concern over the recent spate of crime incidents in the country, including the deaths of two government prosecutors and the reported increase in the number of hold-up cases in Metro Manila.
He added that President Duterte believes there is still room for improvement in public order and safety, although recent data would show that crimes in the country declined since he took office.
“The President reiterated that while we have been combating crime and prohibited drugs since Day 1 of his administration, apparently, we can do more,” Roque said.
Roque noted that he had discussed the matter with Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde, who is awaiting further instructions from the President.
Meanwhile, Roque fired back at human rights groups critical of the President for continuously attacking his administration’s policies against illegal drugs while ignoring the plight of victims of drug addicts and criminals.
“As the President has said, where are the human rights [groups] in cases like these where a five-month pregnant prosecutor was stabbed by a drug addict? How come we don’t hear anything from the human rights,” he said in Filipino.
PH employment at 94.5%
During the same press briefing, Malacañang welcomed a report made by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which placed the country’s employment rate at 94.5 percent for April 2018.
Roque said the preliminary results of PSA’s April 2018 Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed that 40.9 million Filipinos are currently employed, easing the country’s unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent.
This is the lowest recorded rate for all the April rounds of the LFS in the past decade, he added.
The Palace also announced that the Nikkei Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index reported a growth of 53.7 for the month of May, which is higher compared to 52.7 in April.
This makes the Philippines the second best performer in the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations region, and fourth among the 18 Asian countries measured.
According to Roque, the report noted the improved demand conditions, new business expansion and increased purchasing activity of the country as factors leading to the growth.#