Malacañang on Saturday slammed the New York Time for publishing an editorial that cited an international watchdog’s survey showing the Philippines as the “bloodiest” country for land rights activists.
In a statement, the Palace said the American paper “has not exerted research required of responsive journalism.”
“The editorial of the NYT is not surprising since the newspaper has been dishing out false information and untruthful narratives on the Philippine situation under the leadership of PRRD,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“The American publication has not exerted the research required of responsive journalism. Neither did it conduct an in-depth independent study on such a delicate subject-matter,” he added.
The New York Times released an editorial on Thursday titled “In the Fight to Save the Planet, Its Defenders Are Being Killed.”
The opinion piece cited a survey by Global Witness which claimed that the country has the most number of murders of land rights activists last year.
The survey reported 30 killings in the country in 2018. After the Philippines, Colombia ranked second with 24, followed by 23 in India and 20 in Brazil.
“On this particular issue, the NYT relied heavily on the annual report of Britain-based human rights group called Global Witness, which missed the point when it cited the Philippines as a deadly nation for land rights,” Panelo said.
He also denied that the government is behind those killings.
“Global Witness made it appear that it is the government which is to blame for the situation while failing or omitting to factor the local communist movement and armed conflicts as critical components thereof,” he said.
Earlier, the Palace blamed the reported rise in the number of killings to the “viciousness” of the claimants.
Panelo also slammed the Times for relying on “false facts peddled by communist rebels, left-leaning organizations, and political opposition.”
The Palace spokesman also defended the President, who was described as “brutal” in the publication’s editorial.
“The President is not brutal. He does not allow any law enforcer to use savage methods in enforcing the law.
“Anyone who goes against police protocols in effecting arrest and complying with court orders are prosecuted administratively and criminally. The President is very strict in enforcing the law. No friendship, alliances or blood relationship temper nor impede this enforcement. No one is spared from the harsh application of the law,” he said.
He also said that Duterte governs in accordance with the law and Constitution.
“The governance of the President is based on his constitutional duty to serve and protect the Filipino people. No force on earth nor the baseless condemnation from the outside world will chain or halt this President from performing the constitutional command of protecting the nation and preserving the Republic.
“He will continue to do it with passion, dedication, integrity, courage and zeal against the enemies of the state, as well as the purveyors of falsities, and those who dare assault the country’s sovereignty, regardless of the risk and cost to his life, liberty, honor and to his presidency,” Panelo said.
About 300 farmers, indigenous people and land rights activists have been killed since Duterte took office in 2016, according to rights groups in the country.
In one incident, a group of gunmen shot nine sugarcane farmers including women and children on the island of Negros.