Newly-installed Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge (OIC) Eduardo Año on Tuesday, January 9, assured the public that the human rights of every Filipino will be respected and recognized under his watch.
Año, who retired as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last October, said that extrajudicial killings (EJKs) are not part of the government’s policy and will have no place during his leadership.
“I don’t believe in EJKs, it’s not a policy of the government and we will make sure that the rights of every individual are respected and recognized,” he said.
Año also remarked that the public should look at how the military handled the Marawi crisis when he was still the AFP chief.
“Look at the AFP when I was the chief of staff and the commanding general of the Army, isa lang naman ang (there’s only one) policy and it’s always the premium on human rights of every Filipino, everyone,” he said.
He continued, “‘Yung sinasabi nila during Marawi crisis ang daming apprehension pero look, meron bang violation na nagawa ang military sa human rights (What they’re saying during the Marawi City crisis, so many apprehensions, but look no violation of human rights happened)?”
At the same time, Año vowed that the fight against illegal drugs, crime, and corruption would be “relentless” during his tenure at the DILG.
“Under my watch, the DILG will relentlessly and resolutely wage a campaign to rid the country of illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption. The threats of communism and violent extremism will also be met head-on,” Año said.
He added, “I will strongly uphold our primary mandate to ‘promote peace and order, ensure public safety and further strengthen local government capability aimed towards the effective delivery of basic services to the citizenry.”
In addressing possible abuses of police officers and other authorities, Año encouraged the public to file complaints.
He vowed that those involved with crime groups, including police officers, would be “held accountable and will be dealt with uncompromisingly for violating our laws.”
Año allayed fears about the looming “militarization” of the DILG, which has jurisdiction over the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
Stressing that he is “no longer a military man,” Año said he will just “really focus on how to carry out the mandate of this department and make sure na ma-deliver ‘yung expectations sa atin (that the expectations to us will be delivered).”
Año replaces Catalino Cuy, who is now chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB). The law states that a former military chief cannot assume the post of secretary until a year after his retirement.