This screengrab from a PCOO teaser video shows a title screen for “Gramo Dos: Unipormado”.
MANILA, Philippines — The government’s lead communication arm on Sunday launched another documentary defending the administration’s war on drugs as the controversial campaign faces fresh criticism from abroad.
The Presidential Communications Operations Office said it created “Gramo Dos: Unipormado” to highlight the risks that law enforcers face as they combat the drug menace.
“As the problem of illegal drugs remains significant, even during a pandemic, we at the PCOO will continue to intensify our information dissemination against it,” PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.
Citing police data, PCOO said 52 policemen were killed and 153 others were wounded in drug-related operations from July 1, 2016 to June 23, 2020.
The 40-minute presentation is the sequel to the 2019 documentary “Gramo”, which highlighted the achievements of and the challenges faced by the government’s anti-narcotics crackdown.
“Gramo Dos” featured the perspectives of three police personnel who are on the frontlines of the campaign, which has so far left more than 6,000 drug suspects dead based on official figures.
The documentary was released days after some members of the international community sounded the alarm anew about the killings tied to the drug war.
Watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) has claimed that killings in the campaign have worsened as the police killed 50% more people between April to July 2020 than they did in the previous four-month period.
The PCOO has described HRW’s claims as “gross distortions of the situation in the Philippines.”
During the 45th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council last week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged the Philippines to “revoke the policies that continue to result in killings and other human rights violations, to bring to justice the perpetrators, and to halt the use of rhetoric inciting violence against people who use or sell drugs.”
Malacañang has maintained that the Philippines has domestic institutions and legal remedies that can help victims of abuses.
The European Parliament, meanwhile, recently adopted a resolution criticizing the supposed extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations in the Philippines, calling for an end to all violence targeting suspected drug offenders, and reiterating that anti-drug campaigns should comply with due process of the law.
The resolution has also urged the European Commission to immediately start the procedure which could temporarily revoke the Philippines’ Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status. The status permits the Philippines to export more than 6,000 products to European Union countries without duties.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has chided the European lawmakers for refusing to believe that the Philippine judicial process is working. He has also dared the lawmakers to just revoke the Philippines’ GSP+ status, saying such a move would make them “the biggest contributor to the violation of the right to life in the Philippines.”
“Gramo Dos: Unipormado” is scheduled to air on state-run PTV-4 and IBC-13 at 7 p.m. on Sunday and will also be posted on PCOO’s social media pages.
The state-sponsored documentary is launched on the same weekend as Daang Dokyu, a film festival that will feature documentaries by GMA Network, ABS-CBN, Probe Productions, Rappler, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism as well as features recommended by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
BusinessWorld reports that “for its opening salvo online, Daang Dokyu tackles forgetfulness and historical revisionism of one of the darkest moments in Filipino history by presenting the ABS-CBN documentary Marcos: A Malignant Spirit (1986) and Imelda (2003) by Ramona Diaz.”
Daang Dokyu runs from September 19 to November 5.