A high-level mission of New Zealand (NZ) parliamentarians arrived in the country yesterday to do what their American counterparts should have done, which was to find out from diverse sources — including Philippine officials — the true situation in the Philippines amid the war on drugs.
Opposition National Party leader Simon Bridges has brought along the party’s defense spokesman Mark Mitchell, foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee and New Zealand’s first Filipino member of parliament Paulo Garcia. Bridges will meet with a number of politicians and officials for talks on trade and other cooperative endeavors aside from the anti-narcotics campaign.
As in other developed countries, the Filipino migrant population in New Zealand, currently at 70,000, is growing.
Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) are among the strongest supporters of President Rody Duterte and his campaign to eradicate the country of crime and the illegal drugs menace.
The NZ politicians were apparently getting mixed signals from Rody’s detractors who have strong links with the ruling party and civic groups of that country and the OFW who back Rody one hundred percent.
Unlike in the past, OFW have attained equanimity on the relative safety of their families left in the country compared to the situation earlier when the streets were owned by the dregs of society.
Still, Simon’s group indicated obtaining data on the war on drugs already debunked but unceasingly propagated by Rody’s opponents for partisan purposes.
Fed with wrong information, for instance, was NZ labor leader Robert Reid who visited the Philippines last year as part of an International Human Rights Mission, who said he heard “more than 27,000 Filipinos have been killed since President Duterte came to power four years ago.”
Reid claims the war on drugs in the Philippines has deteriorated to a war on the people instead.
The number, however, came from the chief critic of the President, coup plotter Antonio Trillanes IV, who fabricated it from police data that included deaths unrelated to the anti-narcotics campaign.
The foreign delegation will hold talks with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr., Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, among other officials.
Bridges has an equal interest in promoting trade between the countries.
Bridges said trade with the Philippines — New Zealand’s 17th largest export destination valued at $880 million — is small but there is room for growth.
While receiving the bogus information on the campaign, the New Zealand legislators did a better job than their American counterparts who fired away with sanctions against Philippine officials involved in the campaign and in the detention of suspected drugs offender Sen. Leila de Lima without checking the information they received.
The US Senate passed a resolution, based on prejudiced narratives taken as truth by Democrat Senators, asking US President Donald Trump to bar Philippine government officials allegedly behind the detention of Senator De Lima from visiting their country.
The resolution, introduced by US Senator Edward Markey in April 2019, calls for Trump to invoke the Global Magnitsky Act by imposing sanctions on Philippine officials responsible for “orchestrating the arrest and prolonged detention” of De Lima.
The government reciprocated the bullying tactics of the US legislators by banning the proponents of the resolution from setting foot in the country.
The bottom line is that responsible action is reciprocated in the way the government deals with foreign interests looking into the true situation in the country.