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Manila decries 'war zone in disguise' labelling.

AUS-based NGO has described the Philippines as a virtual "war zone", due to the government's sustained crackdown on drug dealers and users.

In a document titled 'Year in Review: 2018 Report on Worldwide Political Violence and Protest', the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) highlighted the ongoing government campaign against drugs.

"The Philippines is a war zone in disguise: Over 1,000 civilians were killed in the Philippines in 2018 more than in Iraq, Somalia, or the DRC--highlighting the lethality of [President Rodrigo]Duterte's state terror campaign dubbed the 'War on Drugs."

"In 2018, nearly as many civilians were killed in Syria (over 7,100) as were in Nigeria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and the Philippines combined (over 7,600 total)--the next four countries topping the list of deadliest countries for civilians," it said.

Established in 2014, ACLED claims to provide the "highest quality, most widely used, real time data and analysis source on political violence and protest around the world."

It claims to be the only data project providing real time coverage of trends in 2018 that provides information critical for analysis of disorder around the globe.

Reacting to ACLED's 2018 Report on Worldwide Political Violence and Protest, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the assessment is "fallacious."

He described the report as "remarkable in ignorance and bias".

Panelo said that it was apparent that the source of information for the report was from groups that are against the current Philippine administration.

"Not having presented any proof that it has conducted factual investigation in the country as to the conditions obtaining, it is reasonable to believe that its conclusion is based on allegations made by groups that are hopelessly and blindly critical of the Duterte administration. These include the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as partisan media outfits like Rappler, Philippine Daily Inquirer, New York Times, and Reuters, among others," according to Panelo.

"Our people recognise, feel and embrace the visible change happening in our land. To ACLED we say, as we have repeatedly conveyed to other foreign human rights organisations, we do not need lectures from inexpert foreign groups on how to run a nation," Panelo said.

ACLED Research Director Roudabeh Kishi explained that while political violence decreased overall in volume, "it was also expanded."

"In 2018, more locations saw violence, more conflict actors emerged, more actors targeted civilians than before, and more countries saw disorder increase than decrease within their borders. Overall, the footprint of conflict expanded significantly," she commented

ACLED data also confirm that conflict hotspots like Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria still have the highest rates of organised violence and highest death tolls, with a combined total of nearly 100,000 reported fatalities this year.

Caption: Filipinos hold a rally to protest the country's war on drugs which has claimed over 1,000 civilians.

Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.

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Title Annotation:Filipino News
Publication:The Filipino Post
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jan 24, 2019
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