The Philippines interior ministry said on Wednesday that it plans to acquire pistols for community leaders willing to fight crime, sparking fears of more lawless bloodshed in the country’s violent crackdown on drugs.
Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine president, said on Tuesday that he was considering arming community leaders, known as “barangay” captains, after pledging that officials who opted to fight the war against drugs would have his full support.
Last week he promised to provide the same legal protection to barangay captains as he did to soldiers or police, vowing that they “will never go to jail” if they shot suspected criminals while performing their official duties.
Martin Dino, the interior department undersecretary responsible for the country’s 42,000 barangays, told Reuters that handguns would be provided for free, or private purchases subsidised, on the condition that the barangay captains were not involved in illegal drugs.
Officials have justified the plan with the argument that community leaders are too afraid to report illegal drug activities.
However, critics of Mr Duterte’s violent campaign against drugs fear that it will spiral further of control if more guns flood the streets.
Thousands of suspected drugs users and peddlers have been murdered in cold blood since Mr Duterte rose to power in June 2016 on a tough anti-drugs platform.
Many have been killed by masked assassins, who human rights groups have claimed have links to the police. They have accused the Philippine authorities allowing rampant extrajudicial killings to take place with apparent impunity.
The proposed plan to offer firearms to barangay chiefs was slammed by opposition politicians on Wednesday, reported ABS-CBN.
“Arming barangay captains of the 40,000 barangays simply means creating a private army of political kingpins in cities, provinces, and municipalities. It’s a wild, wild west scenario,” warned Edgar Erice, an inner city MP.
Representative Tom Villarin said the idea was a "recipe for disaster".
He added: "With loose guns already a big problem, allowing more firearms even if licensed, would perpetuate a culture of violence and abuse of power by persons of authority."
Click Here: camiseta seleccion argentina